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Glossary

List of words

ALARA
The "As Low As Reasonably Achievable" concept aims at ensuring that specific criteria, mainly radiation levels of exposure, are kept as low as possible, taking into account technical, economic and social factors.

Contamination
The presence of undesirable radioactivity on the surface and/or within the body of a material.

Controlled Area
A controlled area is a location where radiation levels are such that there is a significant likelihood the annual exposure may exceed 6 mSv, and where appropriate controls are applied.

Decommissioning
Decommissioning is the last major licensed phase of a nuclear installation. It involves taking the installation out of operation, while ensuring the health and safety of personnel, the general public and the protection of the environment, and culminates in the termination of the installation license (click here to read more).

Decontamination
The removal or, more often, the reduction of radioactive contamination on the surface and/or within the body of a material.

Dismantling
The disassembly and removal of a plant, system or component during the decommissioning of a nuclear installation.

Euratom Treaty
Treaty signed in 1957 by the European Union Member States which established the European Atomic Energy Community (EURATOM) and empowered it to create the conditions necessary for the setting up and growth of nuclear power related industries.

Future liabilities
The term "future liabilities" refers to the Commission's legal obligations towards its nuclear installations still in use, which will be eventually shutdown and decommissioned.

Historical liabilities
The historical liabilities are the legal obligations of the Commission with regard to its shutdown nuclear installations having no future role in supporting the mission of the JRC. The liabilities include the safe conservation of the installations, their decommissioning, the end of their licenses and the management of decommissioning-related waste, together with any investment and expenditure necessary to undertake such activities in compliance with legal requirements.

Interim storage
The storage of radioactive waste packages in a temporary facility, providing environmental protection. The packages will be retrieved later and stored in a final repository.

Licensee
The holder of the license issued by the Regulatory Authority as regards the siting, design, construction, commissioning, operation and decommissioning of a nuclear installation.

Maintenance
The activity of keeping operational systems of a nuclear installation in good conditions.

Nuclear Installation
An installation and its associated equipments, buildings and land in which radioactive materials are present.

Radiation Protection
The protection of personnel, the general public and the environment against the harmful effects of ionizing radiation (click here to read more).

Radioactivity
The atoms making up matter are generally stable, but some of them are spontaneously transformed by emitting radiations which release energy. This is called radioactivity (click here to read more).

Radiological Survey
The systematic mapping of equipment, buildings and land to quantify radiation and/or contamination levels.

Regulatory Authority
A governmental authority for regulating the license of a nuclear installation.

Safe conservation
The programme of activities undertaken to ensure that a shutdown nuclear installation is maintained in a safe state of conservation prior to its decommissioning.

Stages of Decommissioning
With reference to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) definition, there are three conditions that a nuclear facility installation can reach after decommissioning activities:

  • Stage 1: storage with surveillance;
  • Stage 2 restricted site release;
  • Stage 3 unrestricted site release.

Supervised Area
With the exception of controlled areas, a supervised area is a workplace where annual exposure levels may exceed 1 mSv (limit for the public), and where special forms of supervision are applied.

Surveillance
The activity of ensuring that a nuclear installation remains within limits prescribed by the Regulatory Authority.

Waste package
A waste package is the radioactive waste together with any container(s) required for the handling, treatment, conditioning, storage, transport and disposal of the waste.

Waste Management
All activities related to handling, treatment, conditioning, storage, transport and disposal of radioactive waste (click here to read more).