Holtec completes plant acquisition
Holtec International has completed its acquisition of the shut-down Oyster Creek nuclear power plant from Exelon. Meanwhile, all nuclear fuel has been removed from the reactor at Entergy's Pilgrim nuclear power plant, which is due to be sold to Holtec later this year for accelerated decommissioning.
Holtec has formally taken over ownership of the Oyster Creek nuclear power plant, which shut down in September 2018, after its subsidiaries completed the transfer and acquisition from Exelon Generation on 1 July.
This follows US Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) approval in June of the transfer of the plant's operating licence to Holtec subsidiaries Oyster Creek Environmental Protection, LLC (OCEP), as owner, and Holtec Decommissioning International, LLC (HDI), as operator, for decommissioning.
OCEP and HDI will be responsible for decommissioning the plant and managing its decommissioning trust fund, which will cover the cost of decommissioning. As part of the decommissioning, the reactor's used nuclear fuel will be moved from the plant's used fuel pool, where it is in storage, to an onsite dry storage facility called an Independent Spent Fuel Storage Installation (ISFSI). Holtec says its dry storage systems will allow the transfer to be completed in 2.5 years. It ultimately intends to ship the site's used fuel to the HI-STORE consolidated interim storage facility it is licensing in New Mexico, but in the meantime the used fuel will remain stored on the Oyster Creek site.
Within 10 years, OCEP and HDI plan to complete the decommissioning process at the New Jersey plant, allowing the land to be returned to productive use.
"Our primary goal is to decommission Oyster Creek safely and with the community’s best interests in mind," Holtec President and CEO Kris Singh said. "Many of the excellent plant staff will join our exceptionally qualified engineers as we set a new bar in decommissioning excellence."
Pilgrim, in Massachusetts, was shut down permanently on 31 May after 47 years in operation. Exelon said it has now formally entered Phase I of plant decommissioning following the removal of nuclear fuel from the reactor into the used fuel pool. The NRC docketed the certifications of permanent cessation of operations and permanent removal of fuel from the reactor on 11 June.
Entergy agreed in 2018 to sell the closed-down plant to Holtec International for accelerated decommissioning, and the 270 workers currently employed at the site will transition to the Holtec organisation after the plant transaction is completed. According to Holtec, this is expected to happen "within weeks".
Holtec has also agreed to purchase the Indian Point and Palisades plants from Entergy following those plants' planned closures.