Entergy Corporation, owner of Pilgrim Nuclear Power Station, and Holtec International, the company looking to own the plant – once it is permanently shutdown – to take over decommissioning jointly announced they have filed an application, with the NRC (Nuclear Regulatory Commission), for the necessary license transfer.
The plant is scheduled for shutdown in June 2019. Since review of a license transfer normally takes the NRC about a year to process, Holtec is hoping to get a head start on the process. They would like to have the license transfer completed by May 31, 2019 so they can begin their plans to have the spent fuel pool into dry casks by 2021, the buildings demolished and the site restored by 2027. All that would be left at the plant site would be the fuel pad with more than 60 casks of spent fuel.
Holtec has a contract with Comprehensive Decommissioning International LLC — a joint venture company comprising Holtec and SNC Lavalin — to perform the decommissioning, including demolition and site cleanup. Holtec officials have promised a quick decommissioning, which has been well-received by Plymouth officials since it means the site can be released for other uses.
As part of the license transfer request, a decommissioning estimate is required – it estimated a cost of $1.13 billion. Currently the plant’s decommissioning trust fund is at $1.05 billion, which would be turned over to Holtec once the license transfer is approved and completed.
Should the license transfer not occur, Entergy Corporation affiliate – Entergy Nuclear Generation Co. – would mothball the reactor for several decades, under an NRC-approved option known as SAFSTOR, allowing the nuclear decommissioning trust fund to grow before decommissioning and site restoration are completed by 2080. Under the SAFSTOR method, Entergy estimates the total cost for decommissioning Pilgrim at $1.66 billion.