Three words can sum up the nuclear power plant decommissioning process – safety, compliance and transparency. Safety of employees, contractors and surrounding community will remain the top priority.
Activities will include permanently removing the plant from service, permanently defueling the reactor, obtaining license actions to reflect the change from operations to shutdown status, transferring spent nuclear fuel from the spent fuel pool to dry cask storage, removal of contaminated systems and components, demolition of the buildings on site, and restoring the site.
The used fuel will remain secured on site, under guard, monitored during shutdown and decommissioning activities, and subject to the NRC’s oversight until it is removed by the federal Department of Energy, in accordance with its legal obligations.
All activities will comply with regulations as the NRC will continue to provide oversight both before and during the decommissioning process. Communication with employees and our many external constituents remains a priority leading up to and throughout the decommissioning process. These aspects will also be the case under Holtec’s ownership.
As Pilgrim transitions from an operating nuclear power plant to shut down and decommissioning, economic activity will continue at the site. The sale to Holtec, if approved, will allow prompt decommissioning to commence. By starting decommissioning soon after shutdown, a significant number of workers will remain at the site and contractors and other specialists will visit to perform work. If Entergy continues to retains ownership of the plant , decommissioning would not begin until the 2060s, with the site largely remaining dormant for that period.
Learn more about the benefits of prompt decommissioning and Entergy’s plan to sell Pilgrim to Holtec International for decommissioning here.
The two companies jointly filed a License Transfer Application, requesting approval for the transfer of Pilgrim, as well as its Nuclear Decommissioning Trust Fund, from Entergy to Holtec after the plant permanently shuts down by June 1, 2019, along with detailed separate filings that lay out the process each would use to decommission the facility. The companies have asked the NRC to approve the application by May 31, 2019, to facilitate a transaction closing by the end of 2019. In addition to the jointly filed LTA, the separate filings by each company include:
Holtec’s filings describe the plan of its subsidiary, Holtec Decommissioning International, to complete the dismantling, decontamination, and remediation of Pilgrim to NRC standards within eight years of license transfer, or by the end of 2027, assuming timely regulatory approvals. Holtec’s process achieves site restoration decades sooner than if Entergy retained the plant while meeting all applicable local, state and federal regulations.
Holtec’s technical expertise, innovations, and industry-leading experience in spent fuel management and decommissioning enable it to do the work in a more cost-effective manner than Entergy, with uncompromised safety and under rigorous NRC oversight.
The regulatory filings explain how each company would dismantle the plant, decontaminate the facility, and remediate the site to NRC standards. If the NRC approves the license transfer and the transaction closes, the Holtec submittals will govern the site’s decommissioning. The Entergy submittals will govern Pilgrim’s decommissioning if Entergy remains the plant owner and operator.
The filings (minus redacted proprietary information) are posted to Pilgrim’s website, PilgrimPower.com.
Holtec’s process achieves site restoration decades sooner than if Entergy retained the plant. Holtec’s technical expertise, innovations, and industry-leading experience in spent fuel management and decommissioning enable it to do the work in a more cost-effective manner than Entergy, safely and under rigorous NRC oversight.
Click here to go to Holtec Decommissioning International’s website.