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As facilities age and reach the end of their life it becomes prudent to begin planning for their decommissioning. This publication aims to provide guidance to help ensure the safe decommissioning of these plants with minimal impact to people, plant and the environment.
Decommissioning a power plant is a potentially hazardous process. This is not only due to the movement and demolition of large pieces of equipment, but also because of the need to safely handle hazardous substances such as asbestos or radioactive materials (in the case of a nuclear power plant). These activities are often people-intensive, and if human factors issues have not been handled correctly with diligence and forward planning there is a high risk of danger to the people involved in the decommissioning process as well as to the integrity of the installation.
This guidance aims to steer the user through the types of human factors considerations that should be taken into account during the various phases of decommissioning a facility. The example given is of a nuclear power plant; however, whilst the decommissioning phases, activities and terminology used are nuclear specific, most are also relevant across wider energy industry sectors.
For each decommissioning activity, e.g. asbestos removal, or demolishing cooling ponds, there are a number of human factors issues that should be considered in order to carry out the task safely. For example anthropometric (body space) assessments should be carried out to ensure workers have the required space to work; task analysis should be carried out to ensure that sufficient barriers are in place to prevent hazards, etc. Guidance on managing human factors and organisation factors in decommissioning recommends the tools to use for each decommissioning activity, highlighting the most important issues to consider.
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