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GIS for Nuclear Decommissioning

GIS for Nuclear Decommissioning


A geographic information system (GIS) is a system designed for the collection, analysis, and management of geographical or spatial data. GIS applications can be used to present data as information using a variety of different methods, processes, and technologies. GIS is used in a wide range of industries including business, engineering, insurance, management, planning, transport and logistics, and telecommunications. However, there is a lesser common, but critically important use for GIS: nuclear decommissioning.

Nuclear Decommissioning

When a power plant reaches the end of its useful life it is decommissioned, cleaned up, and knocked down so that the site on which it stood can be made available for other uses. For nuclear power plants, the decommissioning process becomes much more complex and potentially dangerous due to the radioactive materials. A nuclear facility can only be declared decommissioned when it has been dismantled and treated so that ongoing safety measures are no longer needed to guard against radiation on the site. This is a complicated process that must be carried out with extreme care and with as little human interaction as possible.

Using GIS for Nuclear Decommissioning

Using GIS, the field team responsible for decommissioning a nuclear facility can input data about the site, the materials contained there, and other impacting factors. Using the data gathered, they can then analyze and interpret the data to estimate the time, cost, and amount of radioactive waste generated. This allows them to pick the least expensive, time-consuming, and dangerous method in which they will clean up and dismantle the facility. They can then track and evaluate the real-time progress at the site, compare this to their plans, and share this information with stakeholders.

At a nuclear facility, the progress of work and the safety of workers can be impacted by conditions above and below ground such as weather, seismic activity, and natural disasters. There is also the potential for the radioactive material, as well as normal power plant activity, to have an impact on the surrounding environment, such as the atmosphere, local bodies of water, vegetation, and wildlife. GIS enables nuclear-decommissioning authorities to take these conditions into account when planning, but also to monitor and respond to any changes that occur either naturally or as a result of their activity.

Although working with radioactive materials can never be 100% risk-free, the use of GIS allows nuclear-decommissioning authorities to eliminate much of the uncertainty from the clean-up and dismantling of nuclear sites.

GeoTel is the leading provider of telecommunications infrastructure data, including carrier fiber route data, in a geographic information system (GIS). For over sixteen years, GeoTel’s products have been providing companies and government entities with the leverage and insight necessary to make intelligent, location-based business decisions. For more information or a demo, please contact our experts at (407) 788-8888.

Valerie Stephen