WEST VALLEY, N.Y. – EM’s West Valley Demonstration Project recently hosted the International Atomic Energy Agency’s (IAEA) International Decommissioning Network (IDN) Steering Committee, which includes members from the U.S., Australia, Canada, France, Germany, and United Kingdom.
“We were honored to host the IDN at our EM site,” WVDP Director Bryan Bower said. “Their work on decommissioning and remediation is important to West Valley, as well as other EM sites across the country.”
IDN members toured WVDP and learned about the EM cleanup and site history from representatives of EM and cleanup contractor CH2M HILL BWXT West Valley (CHBWV), and the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA). EM conducts the site cleanup in cooperation with NYSERDA.
“The steering committee was very appreciative of both DOE and CHBWV senior personnel for their hospitality, participation, and group discussions on lessons learned,” said Andrew Szilagyi, director of EM’s Office of Infrastructure & Deactivation and Decommissioning, who co-chairs the IDN committee. “The tour and project presentations provided an outstanding level of understanding of the West Valley cleanup program and how the work being done there relates to the IDN’s mission objectives.”
The IDN was launched at an IAEA conference in September 2007. The network strives to create awareness of decommissioning needs and priorities, promotes safe, timely and cost-effective decommissioning, and enhances training and experience-sharing. Representatives of the IAEA Secretariat — the international body of staff tasked with running the agency — sit on the IDN committee.
“Meetings like this one are aimed at taking advantage of a diversity of knowledge and experience from people involved in a senior capacity in a wide range of decommissioning programs to unlock impactful solutions to decommissioning activities,” IDN Chair Con Lyras said. “Ultimately, the IDN strives to create an environment that fosters open and efficient worldwide sharing of practical and effective decommissioning experiences that lead to safe, economic, and timely dismantlement of disused nuclear facilities.”
Patrick O’Sullivan of the IAEA Secretariat said the IDN looks to attract additional resources to the field to help accelerate the pace of decommissioning activities worldwide as members share knowledge across country borders.
“Essentially, the IDN is a global ‘community of practice’ for decommissioning professionals focused on increasing visibility and leveraging learning for effective decommissioning solutions,” O’Sullivan said.
The IAEA was created in 1957 as the world’s “Atoms for Peace” organization within the United Nations family following an initiative by President Dwight D. Eisenhower. It continues to work for the safe, secure, and peaceful uses of nuclear science and technology. Its key roles contribute to international peace and security, and to the United Nations goals for social, economic, and environmental development.