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Site Characterization in Support of Decommissioning Online Training

Online continuing education course for personnel involved in remediation of decommissioned nuclear sites


Successful site remediation, final status surveys (FSS), and facility release are dependent upon the adequacy of the initial decommissioning planning. Because so much of the information that ultimately feeds into the planning and documentation that supports release guideline development, remediation, and final status surveys is generated during early site reconnaissance, it is imperative that the historical site assessment and characterization are integrated with the overarching plans for eventually releasing a site.

The driving guidance for the FSS of radiologically contaminated sites is MARSSIM. Together with additional guidance documents that include the NRC’s Consolidated Decommissioning Guidance (NUREG-1757), MARSAME, as well as guidance from our European counterparts, this course has been designed to bridge the gap between available training and emphasis on the performance of final status surveys to ensure that the initial historical site assessments and characterization surveys, from which the majority of the important decision-making data arise, are conducted in an integrated approach for decommissioning that will feed directly into FSS planning and site release.

The American Academy of Health Physics grants 40 Continuing Education Credits for completion of this course.

Course description

The Site Characterization in Support of Decommissioning: Planning, Implementation, and Evaluation online training course emphasizes site evaluation, data planning, survey implementation and tools, data interpretation, and decision-making processes involved in the historical site assessment, scoping survey, and characterization survey phases of decommissioning. Much of the course involves planning sessions and individual exercises. Topics include: site assessment, surveys for radiological and chemical contaminants, data quality objectives and assessments, safety evaluations, planning, and budgeting.

A list of the modules included in the course is provided below along with instructions about the registration process. This course is the equivalent of taking the one-week, instructor-led course at the PTP training facility. PTP instructors will be available via email, phone, or Microsoft Teams to answer questions and provide assistance when needed.

Target audience

This course is designed for individuals who will be responsible for the oversight and planning of the surveys leading up to remediation and FSS, determining data needs, and data evaluation and reporting. Although general concepts from MARSSIM are included in the course, experience or previous training using MARSSIM is not a prerequisite.


$1,995 – The tuition includes access to the course materials via the ORAU Learning Management System (LMS).

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If you have additional questions about this course, please contact the Registrar.

Impact Areas

Registration Information


These are asynchronous (self-paced) online courses. The training staff recommends that you complete the training within six months of enrollment. Once registration is complete, you will receive an email confirming that your registration has been received. Once your payment has been confirmed, you will receive an email containing your user name and temporary password if this is the first time you have registered for an online course. If you have registered before, you will receive notification that the course is now available.

Each course contains a series of modules/exercises to be completed. When all modules are complete, you will be granted access to the exam. A passing score is 70 out of 100. You will have three attempts to successfully complete the exam. Upon successful completion of the exam, a course certificate of completion will be provided.

Please read the following carefully and in its entirety. You must accept these terms and conditions in order to be successfully enrolled in the online course. By accepting these terms and conditions, you are legally obligated to act in accordance with this agreement.

Restricted Materials Use Agreement

By registering for this course offered by Oak Ridge Associated Universities (ORAU), I understand that I will be provided with ORAU PTP course materials developed by ORAU. In exchange for receiving these materials, I agree and understand that the ORAU PTP course materials (both electronic and hardcopy) are provided for use by the registered participant only. Duplication and/or distribution of the course materials, in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise, is strictly prohibited without the prior written permission of ORAU. The participant may retain and use the course materials for personal reference in perpetuity. Publications and other copyrighted materials provided during the course may be subject to additional restrictions as noted within these documents.

Cancellations and Refunds

Once access to the course material (LMS) has been granted, no refunds or cancellations will be accepted.

Links to Third Party Websites

PTP's Online Training may include links to third party websites that are controlled and maintained by other organizations. Any link to third-party websites is not an endorsement of said websites and ORAU is not responsible for the content or availability of any such sites.


Sessions that contain webinars will be recorded.

The ORAU-ANL Decommissioning Certificate Program is a formal curriculum that documents that an individual has achieved a baseline level of training in the subject of facility/site decommissioning.

To complete the certificate program, participants must attend two requisite core courses and one additional elective course. They do not need to be taken in any specific order. After the training requirements have been met, it is the responsibility of the participant to contact the ORAU Registrar and request the Decommissioning Certificate. When it has been confirmed by the ORAU Registrar that the requirements have been completed, the individual will be awarded the Decommissioning Certificate.

At this time, no administrative fees are being imposed for the certificate. The sole expense to the participant is the cost of attending the courses.

Requisite Courses

Participants must attend the following two core courses:

Elective Courses

Participants must attend one elective course from the following:

Issuance of Decommissioning Certificate

For the Decommissioning Certificate to be issued, the participant must provide the ORAU Registrar with documentation that the training requirements have been met. This documentation could consist of copies of the certificates of completion from the core and elective courses. If a certificate of completion for one of the ANL courses is unavailable, it would be acceptable to provide the ORAU Registrar with a letter or email from Argonne National Laboratory confirming that the individual attended the course(s). Without a certificate of completion for one of the ORAU courses, the participant must be able to provide the Registrar with the specific dates that the course(s) was attended and the attendance must be confirmed by the Registrar.

Continuing Education Credits

All of the requisite and elective courses have been assigned at least 16 Continuing Education Credits (CECs) by the American Academy of Health Physics.

  • Module 1: Purpose of Characterization Surveys
  • Module 2: Descriptive Statistics
  • Module 3: Overview of ANSI N13.59
  • Module 4: Characterization and Decontamination of Buildings and Associated Structures
  • Module 5: Characterization and Decontamination of Land Areas
  • Module 6: Pathway Modeling and Derived Concentration Guideline Levels (DCGLs)
  • Module 7: Characterization Start Point: The Historical Site Assessment Process
  • Module 8: Exercise - HSA and Development of the CSM - FramKus Industries
  • Module 9: Exercise - HSA and Development of the CSM - One Possible Solution - FramKus Industries
  • Module 10: Sampling Designs
  • Module 11: Scanning for Radiological Contamination
  • Module 12: FramKus Industries Statement of Work
  • Module 13: Scoping Survey Planning
  • Module 14: Exercise - Scoping Survey Planning - Building Tutorial
  • Module 15: Exercise - Scoping Survey Planning - Sheds 9-11
  • Module 16: Exercise - Scoping Survey Planning - Warehouse C
  • Module 17: Exercise - Scoping Survey Planning - Warehouses A and B
  • Module 18: Exercise - Scoping Survey Planning - Class 2/3 Land Areas
  • Module 19: Exercise - Scoping Survey Planning - Class 1/2 Land Areas
  • Module 20: Exercise - Scoping Survey Planning - Class 1 Land Areas
  • Module 21: Exercise - Scoping Survey Summary and CSM Revision - Structures
  • Module 22: Exercise - Scoping Survey Summary and CSM Revision - Land Areas
  • Module 23: Characterization Survey Planning-Preface
  • Module 24: Exercise - Characterization Survey Planning - Sheds 9-11
  • Module 25: Exercise - Characterization Survey Planning - Warehouse C
  • Module 26: Exercise - Characterization Survey Planning - Warehouses A and B
  • Module 27: Exercise - Characterization Survey Planning - Class 3 Land Areas
  • Module 28: Exercise - Characterization Survey Planning - Class 2 Land Areas
  • Module 29 - Exercise - Characterization Survey Planning – Class 1 Burn Area Contamination Bounding and Waste Disposal
  • Module 30 - Exercise - Characterization Survey Planning - Class 1 Shed 1 Land Area - Determining Remediation Method
  • Module 31: Exercise - Characterization Survey Planning - Class 1 Burial Pit - Probability of Identifying Hot Spot
  • Module 32: Equipment and Systems Approaches
  • Module 33: Data Management

Contact us

For more information about ORAU's Professional Training Programs, contact:

ORAU Professional Training Programs 
P.O. Box 117, MS-11
Oak Ridge, TN 37831-0117
Phone: (865) 576-3576
Fax: (865) 241-9152

ORAU Professional Training Programs flyer

View the PTP course flyer (.PDF, 1.28 MB)