Holtec, Entergy Discuss License Transfer for Pilgrim Plant


ROCKVILLE, MD – Representatives from Holtec International and Entergy met with the Nuclear Regulatory Commission Tuesday in Maryland to discuss plans to transfer the license for the Pilgrim Nuclear Power Station in Plymouth.

The Pre-Submittal Meeting covered the actions that Entergy will take before and after the plants planned shutdown by June 1, an overview of the purchase and sale agreement and the new entities that will be formed, and the timeline for the expedited decommissioning process.

According to Steven Scheurich, the Vice President of Nuclear Decommissioning for Entergy, the Pilgrim plant is scheduled to permanently cease operations by no later than June 1, 2019.

Entergy anticipates permanently defueling the reactor within approximately 30 days of the shutdown.

About 300 current staff will be selected for the Decommissioning Organization prior to the closing of the sale of the plant.

Entergy and Holtec International executed a purchase and sales agreement on July 31 which includes the transfer of the licenses, spent fuel, and Nuclear Decommissioning Trusts.

After the sale, Entergy Nuclear Generation Company will remain the owner licensee and will be renamed Holtec Pilgrim.

Holtec Decommissioning International will become the licensed operator of the plant and will contract with Comprehensive Decommissioning International to serve as the Decommissioning General Contractor.

Holtec Pilgrim will remain the owner of the Pilgrim site, including all associated assets, mainly the Nuclear Decommissioning Trust, which is current over $1 billion, and liabilities. Holtec Pilgrim will also own the title to spent nuclear fuel and standard contract from the Department of Energy.

All 300 Pilgrim Decommissioning Organization Employees will be offered positions with CDI at the time of the transaction closing.

The transaction closing is dependent upon several conditions.

“A major condition is obtaining NRC license transfer approval,” Scheurich said.

Entergy and Holtec expressed their intent to file a joint license transfer application by the end of October. They are also expecting to file a Post-Shutdown Decommissioning Activities Report and Decommissioning Cost Estimate, revised Spent Fuel Management Plan and and exemption request to use Nuclear Decommissioning Trust funds for Spent Fuel Management and site restoration.

They are requesting approval from the NRC by April 2019.

Holtec has been involved in the dry cask storage of spent nuclear fuel for many years, but being responsible for the decommissioning of plants is something new for the company.

The company recently submitted an application for a centralized interim storage site in New Mexico.

“It made sense that what linked the two is the decommissioning,” said Pamela Cowan, the Senior Vice President and COO of Holtec Decommissioning International.

Holtec will partner with SNC-Lavalin, which has extensive experience in decommissioning, deconstruction and demolition.

Cowan said the NRC should not be worried that the company is not just using the purchase to take the $1 billion Nuclear Decommissioning Trust.

“We are committed to the nuclear industry,” Cowan said. “Our reputation is built on nuclear.”

She said it would not be in the company’s best interest to do anything less than a stellar job with the decommissioning.

Cowan said Holtec also has extensive experience working with the NRC.

“We understand submittals. We understand licensing. We understand the requirements and we respect the process,” she said. “And we respect the role that both the NRC, as well as the state and other agencies play, with either the public or safety reviews.”

Holtec also assured the NRC that it will have the proper procedures to maintain, protect and control nuclear fuel and ensure environmental and personal protection.

“Safety is a priority for us, a number one priority,” Cowan said. “And we will make sure that we protect, not just the radiological but, occupational safety and environmental safety.”

The timetable presented by Holtec would have the decommissioning process completed in eight years, or by 2027. The expedited timeline is significant because the generic SAFSTOR timeline for this plant would have the decommissioning process being completed by 2083.

The license termination completes in 2063 under Holtec’s proposal instead of 2083 as well.

Cowan said Holtec is honored to be entering into the agreement with Entergy.

“We do look forward to this,” Cowan said. “Not just decommissioning pilgrim, but decommissioning in general.”

Holtec is expected to meet with state officials Wednesday.

By BRIAN MERCHANT, CapeCod.com NewsCenter

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