Research aim and scope

Decommissioning of conventional buildings:

In 2012, the waste produced in the German construction and deconstruction industry amounted to 200 million tons, which accounts for almost 50% of the total waste volume. These volumes combined with the numerous rules and regulations required to manage them make for extensive research potential.

As a matter of fact, the decommissioning of conventional buildings most often includes the management of hazardous substances; e.g. asbestos, synthetic mineral fibres (SMF), or PCBs (chlorinated biphenyls). The handling of these substances is regulated in specific procedures and protective measures; however, these need to be modified as required per application. A less than perfect interplay of the different labours at a construction site is gives way to various dangers and risks. This professorship targets exactly these specific topics and aims at standardizing the demolition of buildings. This includes, among others, pollutant clean-up with automated procedures incl. remote-controlled handling, as well as the further development of existing machines. Consequently, the risks for the personnel handling the hazardous substances can be significantly reduced. 

Our course “Methods for environment-friendly and recyclable dismantling of buildings” offers students both a broad overview and specialized insight in to this subject.


The teachings include the following subjects:

Module: “Methods for environment-friendly and recyclable dismantling of buildings” and additional lectures on project studies and process engineering in dismantling.

  • Current state of science and technology
  • Mechanical demolition, transport, preparation, land filling, and disposal
  • From the application for demolition projects to machine deployment planning
  • Occupational safety and immission control
  • Handling of hazardous substances
  • Legal aspects and requirements
  • Land filling regulations and standards of “The Association of German Engineers (VDI)”
  • Calculations with practical examples
  • Excursions


The following topics are subject to research:

  1. Standardization of demolition management
  • Automated pollutant clean-up or its remote-handling, respectively, for hazardous substances like asbestos, synthetic mineral fibres (SMF), or PCBs (chlorinated biphenyls)
  • Disposal and recycling with respect to the required degree of selectivity
  1. Demolition of buildings and technical plants
  2. Environmentally friendly demolition methods


Decommissioning of nuclear facilities:

The professorship focuses on three aspects in research and teaching in the field of decommissioning nuclear plants:

  1. Building a technical and scientific team at KIT that leads the way both on a national and international level
  2. Developing decommissioning technologies with a high degree of practical relevance (pilot projects)
  3. Establishing a major field of study for this topic

The focus lies on the development of new decommissioning technologies with a significant practical relevance (pilot projects) for outstanding problems, including large-scale testing. The practical tests can be carried out on TMB’s large open-air testing site or in the associated work shop, respectively.


The lectures include the following subjects:

The module “Decommissioning of Nuclear Facilities” with lectures on dismantling and decontamination of nuclear plants, new developments, optimizations in mechanical engineering for dismantling and decommissioning projects:

  • Structure and operation of a NPP
  • Radiation, radiation protection, and measurement technology
  • Approval planning
  • Decontamination, surface treatment, and remote handling technologies
  • Demolition and deconstruction methods
  • Separation of steel and reinforced steel
  • Conditioning and final storage
  • Management of the entire decommissioning life cycle
  • Excursions to decommissioning sites


The following topics are subject to research:

  • Standardisation of the decommissioning of nuclear facilities
  • Technologies and methods for the dismantling of steel, stainless steel, and reinforced steel
    • Decreasing secondary waste volumes
    • Automation and remote-handling methods for existing procedures
    • Performance optimization of existing procedures
    • Development of new technologies
    • Management methods for decommissioning projects
    • Retrieval / recovery technologies for the final repository

Neither Germany nor any other country in the world offers a focused higher education to fully cover the subject of the decommissioning of nuclear facilities, its procedures, managements methods, and the problems involved. Independent from the nuclear phase-out, Germany will be facing major demands with respect to the decommissioning of nuclear facilities within the next 10 to 15 years. Not only the economy, but even more so the environment will urgently require more and more engineers with excellent qualifications. At this institute, engineers will have the opportunity to receive a targeted education with our module “Decommissioning of Nuclear Facilities” to be able to handle the above described problems and meet the growing demands of the industry and the market.