Entergy Unveils Plan for New Spent Fuel Storage Pad at Pilgrim


PLYMOUTH – Entergy has unveiled the proposed location for the construction of a second Independent Spent Fuel Storage Installation Pad at the Pilgrim Nuclear Power Station.

The new pad will be able to hold all 61 dry casks for spent fuel that will be required when the plant shuts down next spring.

Entergy’s plant spokesman Patrick O’Brien says the new pad will be in an even safer location than the current storage site.

“We chose a site at the parking lot up in the INS building so it is actually 75 feet above mean sea level, about 350 feet from Rocky Hill Road and about 700 feet from the shoreline,” O’Brien said.

The current pad, which is 25 feet above mean sea level and 200 feet from the shoreline, contains 17 casks right now and was only designed to hold 38.

The stored spent fuel will be relocated to the new pad after construction is completed.

“Next steps will be to go for permitting at the local level,” O’Brien said. “And our plan is to commence construction before the plant stops operating on May 31, 2019.”

Entergy considered three locations around the property for a potential site for the storage pad. The company conducted technical analysis before picking the INS location.

Holtec International, the company that has a purchase and sale agreement in place for the plant, expressed its commitment to the proposed location.

Holtec has previously been the company contracted to move the spent fuel from the reactor to storage at Pilgrim.

Nuclear Regulatory Commission Spokesman Neil Sheehan said the agency will inspect the construction of the spent nuclear fuel pad, observe the loading of casks and look at the transfer path.

“In this case, obviously, they would have a much longer transfer path because they will now be moving [spent fuel] to a location that’s farther inland at the site,” Sheehan said.

The NRC will also be looking into any safety implications that may result from changing the spent fuel storage location.

A proposal to transfer the license of the plant from Entergy to Holtec is still in the early review stage. Sheehan said any current requirements that apply to Entergy for the use of these dry cask storage units would also apply to Holtec if they are successful in acquiring the plant.

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