NRC Sets Hearing, Webinar on Pilgrim Nuclear Plant Decommissioning

The Entergy Nuclear Operations, Inc. Post-Shutdown Decommissioning Activities Report includes a table showing that the entire period from shutdown of the plant to license termination will last 60 years.

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission will hold a public meeting in Plymouth, Mass., on Jan. 15 to discuss and accept public comments on Entergy Nuclear Operations, Inc.'s Post-Shutdown Decommissioning Activities Report for the Pilgrim nuclear power plant, which is located in Plymouth, some 38 miles southeast of Boston, and entered commercial operation on Dec. 1, 1972. The report calls for placing the plant into long-term storage before dismantlement and decontamination work begins.

Pilgrim is the only nuclear power plant being operated in Massachusetts.

The NRC staff also will present a webinar on Jan. 8 for interested members of the public to participate in discussions regarding the decommissioning of the plant. The webinar will begin at 2 p.m.. It will provide key facts about the decommissioning process and explain how NRC regulates such activities through on-site inspections and other reviews.

Webinar participants will be able to view slides prepared by NRC staff and ask questions in writing via a web page set up to host the session. Online registration is required to participate.

Holtec Decommissioning International LLC has announced that it plans to acquire Pilgrim and conduct an expedited decommissioning of the plant. The commission is reviewing the license transfer application.

Pilgrim is scheduled to permanently cease operations by June 1, 2019. Entergy plans to use the SAFSTOR decommissioning method. Its report explains that the SAFSTOR approach means that, after a plant is shut down and defueled, the facility is placed in a safe, stable condition and maintained in that state (safe storage). The facility is decontaminated and dismantled at the end of the storage period to levels that permit license termination. During SAFSTOR, a facility is left intact or may be partially dismantled, but the fuel is removed from the reactor vessel and radioactive liquids are drained from systems and components and then processed.

The report includes a table showing that the entire period from shutdown of the plant to license termination will last 60 years.

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