The Societa Gestione Impianti Nucleari SpA (Sogin) has taken possession of the Ispra-1 research reactor for decommissioning and dismantling, signed over by the Ispra Joint Research Center, Sogin announced.
With this signing, Sogin adds to its list of decommissioning responsibilities. It is already managing the dismantling of four nuclear power plants – Trino, Caorso, Latina and Garigliano. It is also managing decommissioning of five fuel cycle research plants, including Eurex in Saluggia, Fn in Bosco Marengo, Opec and Ipu in Casaccia and Itrec in Rotondella.
In 2018 the Italian Government with the 2018 Budget Law entrusted Sogin with the decommissioning (dismantling) of the Ispra-1 reactor located in the Joint Research Center (JRC) of the European Commission of Ispra (Varese), Sogin says on its website.
Sogin has been working towards the Ispra-1 ownership transfer since 2018, including having Sogin technicians and JRC staff work together to transfer operational acumen to the incoming team. “The activities started in this first period concern the permimeter and identification of the industrial area and the assets that will be affected by the works together with a cognitive survey of an administrative and technical nature,” Sogin said. Activities included a legal, accounting and administrative analysis operations, as well as environmental and radiological analysis.
The deed transfers the ownership of the plant to Sogin, implementing the ratification law of the agreement signed in 2009 by the Italian Government and the European Commission, which entered into force on 22 May 2019.
The decommissioning ctivities of the Ispra-1 reactor are scheduled in three phases: preliminary activities, reactor dismantling and final site remediation. These activities will start only after the approval, by the Control Authority ISIN, of the decommissioning application, which will be presented by Sogin within January 2020.
Ispra-1 is a 5 MW research reactor, the latest version of the Chicago-Pile 5 series developed by Enrico Fermi, built by the National Nuclear Research Council - then CNEN, and finally ENEA - between 1957 and 1958. Becoming operational in 1959 and used until 1973, it was the first Italian research nuclear reactor. With the establishment of the European Atomic Energy Community (CEEA) in 1957, the Ispra Nuclear Studies Center was sold by Italy, for a period of 90 years, to the same CEEA in 1959, while the Ispra-1 was entrusted to the management of EURATOM starting from 1st March 1963. The reactor was used for studies and research on core physics, new materials for the construction of commercial reactors, neutron fluxes and their interactions with living matter, and played a role in the formation of a new generation of technicians for European and Italian nuclear programs.
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