Document 14544965

The SIJ Transactions on Industrial, Financial & Business Management (IFBM), Vol. 2, No. 3, May 2014
Innovative Technology and
Management are the Key of Sustainable
Project Development
Ahmed Stifi*, Akramullah Aminy** & Sascha Gentes***
*Karlsruhe Institute of Technology, Institute of Technology and Management for the Decommissioning of Nuclear Facilities, Karlsruhe,
GERMANY. E-Mail: Ahmed.stifi{at}kit{dot}edu
**Karlsruhe Institute of Technology, Institute of Technology and Management for the Decommissioning of Nuclear Facilities, Karlsruhe,
GERMANY. E-Mail: akramullah.aminy{at}kit{dot}edu
***Karlsruhe Institute of Technology, Institute of Technology and Management for the Decommissioning of Nuclear Facilities, Karlsruhe,
GERMANY. E-Mail: sascha.gentes{at}kit{dot}edu
Abstract—The demand for sustainable project delivery is generally growing steadily all over the world.
Particularly, the perceived increase in understanding and implementing the term “sustainability” is nowadays a
special feature of our engineering industry. The research team within the Institute of Technology and
Management for the Decommissioning of Nuclear Facilities trusts that the use of ecological, environmental
and innovative technologies and the application of innovative management methods are key to achieving
sustainability in decommissioning projects. The main aspect in this respect is the elimination of waste from a
technical and executive point of view. The paper will introduce two different research projects, i.e.
“decontamination of tubings” and “lean management for decommissioning projects”. Since the
decommissioning of nuclear facilities is a rather new activity in many countries, this paper will first outline the
decommissioning process.
Keywords—Decommissioning Process; Decontamination; Lean Management; Nuclear Facilities; Petrol and
Gas Industry; Pipelines Sustainability; Waste Elimination.
Abbreviations—Naturally Occurring Radioactive Material (NORM); Office of Statewide Health Planning and
Development (OSHPD); Phased Plan Review (PPR); Technologically Enhanced Naturally Occurring
Radioactive Material (TENORM); German Name of the Institute of Technology and Management for the
Decommissioning of Nuclear Facilities (TMRK); Target Value Design (TVD).
HE story of nuclear energy started in the fifties with
the first nuclear power plant in the USA. The
American Atomic Energy Act determines the
operation life for nuclear power plants by a maximum term of
40 years; however, an extension by an additional 20 years is
possible [Rothwell & Rust, 1997]. With these constraints in
mind, i.e. the operation time and the maximum lifetime of
nuclear power plants, it becomes clear that in the next couple
of years numerous power plants will reach their end-of-life
time. Therefore, the nuclear industry will increasingly be
faced with task of taking these facilities out of the service
[The OECD Nuclear Energy Agency (NEA), 2002].
The term “sustainability” was brought to the world’s
attention by Brundtland and her team within the report: “Our
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common future” in 1987. According to her, the definition of
sustainable development is “development that meets the
needs of the present without compromising the ability of
future generation to meet their needs” [Report of UN World
Commission on Environment and Development, 1987]. Ten
years later, a report by the panel of the National Academy of
the Public Administration for the U.S. Department of Energy
introduced the sustainability principle as “No generation
should deprive future generations of the opportunity for a
quality of life comparable to its own” [Report by a Panel of
the National Academy of Public Administration for the U.S.
Department of Energy, 1997]. Focusing on this principle and
knowing that the decommissioning of nuclear facilities is a
long term project with an impact on the near and far future
urges the researcher and industry to deal with
decommissioning processes in sustainable manners. But what
is “decommissioning”? The decommissioning of nuclear
facilities is the final phase in their lifecycle, after siting,
design, construction, commissioning, and operation
[International Atomic Energy Agency, 2013]. It is a complex
© 2014 | Published by The Standard International Journals (The SIJ)
The SIJ Transactions on Industrial, Financial & Business Management (IFBM), Vol. 2, No. 3, May 2014
process involving planning and operation of decontamination
and dismantling of facilities, and demolition of building and
structures to achieve site remediation. It includes the
management of the resulting radioactive waste which should
be safely stored in a final disposal facility. Across their
activities the decommissioning process takes into account the
aspects of health, safety of the operating staff and public, as
well as the protection of the environment. Bearing all these
features in mind, decommissioning projects are required to be
sustainable projects. The research teams within the Institute
of Technology and Management for the Decommissioning of
Nuclear Facilities (TMRK) are working on a “framework of
sustainable decommissioning”, i.e. a model considering six
factors that influence the impact of decommissioning on the
environment. The framework of sustainable decommissioning
is depicted in the following star model, figure 1.
and making defective products [Koskela et al., 2013]. The
identification and elimination of waste will create value. This
philosophy of creating value without waste is the basis of
lean management which origins from the manufacturing
industry. As mentioned before, the decommissioning process
is highly complex in terms of legal requirements, approval
processes, executing work and its related supervision. Figure
2 shows an example for sequences of a decommissioning
process and its time frame (in years).
After Operation
10 11
Decommissioning of Nuclear Facilities
Approval and Planning Process of Decommissioning
Phase 1
Phase 2
Phase 3
Phase 4
Figure 2: Sequences of Decommissioning Process (In Years)
Within her case study Freund et al., (2011) investigated
the sub process, i.e. the approval process as illustrated in
figure 3. The German legal rules strictly separate the design
and planning of decommissioning done by facility operators
from the review process done by the Ministries and
independent experts.
Currently, there are many ongoing research projects
within TMRK covering almost all aspects of the
decommissioning star model. For example, the “FoRK”
research project deals with the technical, economic, social
and political consequences of the decommissioning of
nuclear facilities at a regional and local level, while the
“IRMKA” research project studies and analyses international
best practices in terms of the technology and management of
the decommissioning of nuclear facilities. Yet another
research project deals with safety aspects by monitoring and
controlling the path of radioactive materials.
The research team trusts that the elimination of waste is the
key concept to develop a sustainable decommissioning
project. The term “waste” within this paper does not only
refer to the commonly occurring waste in nuclear facilities
which should be treated and transferred to final disposal
facilities. However, TMRK uses the definition of waste as
defined by Taiichi Ohno published in his book in1978:
“Toyota Seisan Hoshiki”: overproduction, time on hand,
transportation, processing itself, stock on hand, movement
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Application Documents
authorities / Federal
state authorities
Experts/ Consultant
Figure 1: Framework of Sustainable Decommissioning
Ministry of environment,
nature conservation and
Nuclear safety (BMU)
Advisory Council
Application Documents
Permit authority
Experts/ Consultant
Expert opinions
Official Notices of
Figure 3: Approval Process of Decommissioning
Within the case study different parties involved in the
approval procedure were interviewed. These include the
authorities, operators, and experts. Freund also combined the
interviews with findings of literature reviews on lessons
learned from earlier decommissioning projects which
provided information on time and budget overruns. She
indicated that the wastes within the approval process are:
 Formal mistakes in application documents
 Important existing information gets lost
 Information for examining the application documents
and setting up experts’ recommendation is missing
 Huge batch size, for example the licensing
applications consist on average of 120 documents
 Waiting time for first statement of experts,
approximately 5 month
© 2014 | Published by The Standard International Journals (The SIJ)
The SIJ Transactions on Industrial, Financial & Business Management (IFBM), Vol. 2, No. 3, May 2014
Poor coordination between different parties and
 Sometimes, the extremely detailed license documents
create obstacles even for a small change in the
Freund looked for tools and methods that can detect,
avoid, and prevent such mistakes or “wastes”. In the literature
review, she found that the application of Lean Management
to similar cases and with similar obstacles and problems was
investigated. Lean Management was for example
implemented by the Facilities Development Department of
the Office of Statewide Health Planning and Development
(OSHPD) in the USA, which is responsible for the approval
of all hospital construction. OSHPD changed its review from
an isolated process, similar to the described decommissioning
process above, into a Phased Plan Review (PPR) in which the
collaborative and open communication between the
integrated team members are the key factors of success
[Freund et al., 2011]. Freund found that applying Lean
Management principles to the decommissioning process can
help eliminating the waste within the process. Learning, for
example, is an important principle of Lean Management. In
decommissioning projects, short learning cycles should be
implemented in order to obtain positive effects of detected
wastes. Beside this, the principle of flow is very essential in
Lean Management. The flow of the approval process can be
improved by decreasing the batch size, i.e. the bulky
application documents. This can be achieved through
dividing the decommissioning project into several subprojects
for approval purposes, which is legally possible [in
Germany]. Furthermore, the improvement of cooperation and
coordination between all involved parties is one of the main
Lean Management features. With the help of Lean
Management principles, the operator, authorities, and experts
can work together in a multidisciplinary team to deliver a
joint project [Freund et al., 2011]. Moving to the next sub
The application of Lean Management tools like the
Target Value Design (TVD) to the design process and use of
the Last Planner System (LPS) by execution process will help
in achieving a sustainable decommissioning process.
While the previous section discussed the waste in the process
itself, this section is discussing the physical waste. The
decommissioning of a nuclear power plant is producing
considerable amounts of radioactive contaminated waste.
Contamination of materials and components of nuclear
facilities results from various physical and physical-chemical
processes. Contamination of metal may be found in the upper
layer of surfaces (thickness of µm) while in concrete building
structures contamination may have penetrated deeper (few
cm or even more). The process of removal of contamination
from the surfaces of structures, equipment, and different
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components is called “decontamination” [European
Commission-Coordination Network on Decommissioning
(EC-CND), 2009]. Techniques for decontamination are
already available, such as washing, heating, chemical or
electrical action, mechanical cleaning or other techniques.
When selecting the suitable decontamination technique,
several criteria should be considered like the nature of
contamination, the contaminated materials, time and cost, and
of course the safety, environmental, and social issues.
Considering these factors in its research, TMRK aims to
develop innovative and sustainable techniques for
decontamination purposes.
One research project of TMRK deals with the Problem of
contaminated tubing from the petrol and gas industry due to
Naturally Occurring Radioactive Material (NORM). NORM
can be found everywhere on the earth and thus contributes to
the background of radiation. Especially in deep geological
formations there are several ways in which NORM can be
released, e.g. through the process of extracting material from
the earth. During the extracting process of oil and natural
gases from underground reservoirs, high amount of water and
chemicals are used to simplify the extracting. Because of this
NORM becomes soluble in the transported fluid and is thus
taking out of the formation. The transportation of the liquid
from the underground through pipes and tubings leads to an
alteration of the temperature, pressure and ph-values which
consequently leads to a precipitation of NORM and other
materials [Smitht, 1992]. This precipitated material,
consisting of barium, calcium, strontium sulfate and also
toxic as well as radioactive substances will accumulates to
scales inside tubings and other installations of apetrochemical
facility [Kolb & Wojcik, 1985; Johnson et al., 1999; Hamlata
et al., 2013]. Due accumulation of NORM in scales, the
tubings became radioactively contaminated. During the
decommissioning of a petrochemical facility the tubes are
pulled out of the ground. Since the tubings are radioactivity
contaminated by the so called “Technologically Enhanced
Naturally Occurring Radioactive Material” (TENORM),
decontamination is needed in order to reuse the tubings.
The radioactive contamination of pipelines in the petrol
and gas industry is an example where the result of a research
project will be applied in order to decontaminate tubings in
the nuclear facilities. Currently used decontamination
methods in this field are based on water jet- and abrasive
blasting technologies which produce high amounts of
secondary waste. For example: 7 km of tubings contain an
amount of 15 t of scales. The decontamination of these 7 km
of tubings using sand blasting yields approximately 30-50 t of
mixtures (muddy and fixed deposits), hence increasing the
total of contaminated waste on average by a factor of 3
[Report of the German Federal Office for Radiation
Protection, 2011]. Dealing with this problem, the TMRK
research team developed a new sustainable decontamination
technology for tubings in order to avoid additional secondary
waste. The characterization of the scales has shown that they
are hard and brittle and can be removed by applying a defined
mechanical force to spall them [Aminy et al., 2010]. Based
© 2014 | Published by The Standard International Journals (The SIJ)
The SIJ Transactions on Industrial, Financial & Business Management (IFBM), Vol. 2, No. 3, May 2014
on this Problem analysis considerations for alternative
decontamination techniques have been made and the
following challenges have been identified in order to
transform this idea into a sustainable concept:
 Developing an appropriate tool carrier for producing
high frequency vibration and shock, which intended to
be used in arrow space boundary conditions of tubing.
 Development of a suitable tool, for transmitting the
energy of the tool carrier on the tubing scales and for
extracting the same from the tubing.
 Conducting preliminary investigations to identify
influencing factors of the whole removal process.
 Determination of the exact effect of influence factors
and optimization the entire process.
In order to qualify this new decontamination technique
different types of deposits have been formed inside the tubing
and relevant factors of influence, namely the hardness and
thickness of the deposits, the geometry of the used tool, the
distance between the tool and the inner wall of the pipe, and
the rotation parameters (frequency and mass of the imbalance
of the vibrator) were investigated. The results of this research
project confirm the fundamental function of decontamination
of tubings by means of vibration. However, to carry out
experiments within a suitable time frame and without any
radiation hazard, new attempts have been investigated by
using modern simulation technologies which enable
researchers to investigate complicated processes and
procedures virtually as well as to examine its efficiency,
adaptability and repeatability in an ecologically and
environmentally manner; Figure 4 [Stifi et al., 2012].
The majority of TMRK’s research projects, like the using of
vibration technique for decontamination of tubings, are
sponsored by the German Federal Ministry for Education and
Research (BMBF).
Figure 4: Decontamination of Tubings using Vibration Technique
[Stifi et al., 2012]
The paper intended to highlight the role of management and
technology by developing a sustainable decommissioning. It
shows that all parties, facility operators, authorities, experts
and communities are involved in the sustainable
decommissioning process and their decision to undertake it in
a sustainable way is a key issue. Also, the paper shows the
role of research institutes in the decommissioning process.
Research institutes are well equipped with the skills and
facilities to develop sustainable management tools and
sustainable technologies. Therefore, the early involvement
and good cooperation between research institutes and
industry is important for developing sustainable
decommissioning processes.
ISSN: 2321-242X
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© 2014 | Published by The Standard International Journals (The SIJ)
The SIJ Transactions on Industrial, Financial & Business Management (IFBM), Vol. 2, No. 3, May 2014
Ahmed Stifi has received his Bachelor of
Science degree in Civil Engineering from
University of Aleppo in 2001 and his Master
of Science degree in Construction
Management from Technical University of
Darmstadt in 2007. After 4 years of
international work experience at large-scale
construction projects like “City-Tunnel
Leipzig”, “The World Island & the Palm
Deira”, “5000 Unit Housing and Infrastructure Project in Libya” and
“International Airport project” he attended the researcher teams at
Karlsruhe Institute of technology in 2012 and currently he is
working as a senior researcher at Institute of Technology and
Management in Construction where he is pursuing his Ph.D. His
area of interest is Lean Construction and Construction & ReConstruction of Nuclear Power Plants.
Sascha Gentes has received his diploma and
doctorate degrees in Civil Engineering from
the University of Karlsruhe. He is since 2004
Lecturer at Fachhochschule Karlsruhe for
“Calculation”, at Hochschule für Technik in
Management“, and at Universidade Federal
do Parana, in Curitiba, Brasil. Since 2008 he
leads the department of Technology and
Management for the Decommissioning of Nuclear Facilities within
Institute of Technology and Management in Construction. Prof.
Gentes is the head of research and development department of the
company sat. Kerntechnik GmbH in Germany and he published up
to date more than 60 various research papers.
Akramullah Aminy has received his Master
of Science degree in mechanical engineering
from the University of Karlsruhe and he is
currently working as research assistant at
Karlsruhe Institute of Technology in the area
of product development.
ISSN: 2321-242X
© 2014 | Published by The Standard International Journals (The SIJ)