Holtec underscores transparency at US plants

04 March 2020

Holtec International has provided an update on decommissioning work at its Oyster Creek and Pilgrim nuclear power plants that is being performed by Comprehensive Decommissioning International (CDI), its joint venture with SNC-Lavalin.

Pilgrim reactor containment shield cut in preparation for demolition (Image: Holtec)

Oyster Creek has begun reactor vessel segmentation, with GE Hitachi serving as the contractor and Nuclear Consultants International (NCI), an autonomous company tasked with the oversight authority of all safety-significant activities. Several adjunct buildings have been demolished and transformers on site are being deconstructed and removed, "all to improve the plant's security profile", Holtec said. Planning is under way for de-fuelling the used fuel pool in 2021.

At Pilgrim, in Plymouth, Massachusetts, recent achievements include the demolition of legacy structures, construction of a new HI-STORM storage facility for the used nuclear fuel, containment vessel head segmentation and removal to assist the upcoming fuel loading campaign, and controlled evaporation of tens of thousands of gallons of unneeded water inventory.

"We are committed to keeping our decommissioning activities fully transparent at all times and sharing them with our host communities. Educating the local residents and policy makers in the art and science of decommissioning is a high priority for us," Joy Russell, Holtec's chief communications officer, said.

US utility Entergy announced in August 2018 it had agreed to sell its Pilgrim and Palisades nuclear power plants to Holtec International after their closures. The announcement came just one day after utility Exelon said it would sell its Oyster Creek plant to Holtec for decommissioning by CDI.

The 680 MWe single-unit boiling water reactor Pilgrim plant, in Plymouth, Massachusetts, was shut down permanently on 31 May 2019 after 47 years in operation. Entergy at that time said the decision to close the plant was the result of a number of financial factors, including low wholesale energy prices.

The 619 MWe single-unit boiling water reactor Oyster Creek plant, in Lacey Township, New Jersey, was the oldest operating nuclear power plant in the USA when it was shut down on 17 September 2018, after 49 years of electricity generation.

Researched and written by World Nuclear News