Entergy Corp. and Holtec International, through their affiliates, asked the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) Friday to approve the sale of the Pilgrim Nuclear Power Station to Holtec after shutdown. Holtec plans to complete decommissioning and site restoration decades sooner than if Entergy completed decommissioning.
The companies jointly filed a License Transfer Application, requesting approval for the transfer of the Pilgrim Nuclear Power Station, as well as its Nuclear Decommissioning Trust Fund, to Holtec after the plant permanently shuts down by June 1, 2019. They also made detailed separate filings that lay out the process each company would use to decommission the facility. The companies have asked the NRC to approve the application by May 31, 2019, to facilitate a timely transaction closing by the end of 2019, which will benefit the community, employees and other interested constituents. Holtec’s filings describe the plan of its subsidiary, Holtec Decommissioning International, to complete the dismantling, decontamination, and remediation of Pilgrim to NRC standards within eight years of license transfer, or by the end of 2027, assuming timely regulatory approvals. Holtec’s process achieves site restoration decades sooner than if Entergy retained the plant while meeting all applicable local, state and federal regulations. Holtec estimates total costs for decommissioning Pilgrim at $1.13 billion. The balance in Pilgrim’s Decommissioning Trust Fund as of October 31, 2018, was $1.05 billion.
Holtec’s technical expertise, innovations and industry-leading experience in spent fuel management and decommissioning enable it to do the work in a more cost-effective manner, with uncompromised safety and under rigorous NRC oversight. Over 100 nuclear plants rely on Holtec’s nuclear fuel storage technology, and the company is the world leader in spent nuclear fuel storage technology design and implementation. Holtec has contracted with Comprehensive Decommissioning International, LLC (CDI) to perform the decommissioning, including demolition and site cleanup. CDI is a joint venture company of Holtec International and SNC-Lavalin. The decommissioning experience held by Holtec and SNC-Lavalin gives CDI more than half a century of managing complex projects in both the commercial and government nuclear sectors worldwide.
The completion of decommissioning will result in the release of all portions of the site from the current NRC license, with the exception of the Independent Spent Fuel Storage Installation (ISFSI) – the area where spent nuclear fuel is stored in dry casks until the U.S. Department of Energy transfers the spent fuel offsite. As part of its plan, Holtec expects to move all spent nuclear fuel into dry casks within three years following plant shutdown. Additionally, Holtec has a pending application with the NRC for a Consolidated Interim Storage Facility in New Mexico, which could eventually store spent nuclear fuel from Pilgrim and other U.S. nuclear power plants.
In addition to the License Transfer Application, Entergy and Holtec submitted filings today with the NRC that outline these areas:
• Post-Shutdown Decommissioning Activities Report - A description, schedule and cost estimate of planned decommissioning activities.
• Decommissioning Cost Estimate – A study estimating the costs to decommission the nuclear plant, including labor, fuel and disposal fees (included as an attachment to the PSDAR).
• Commingled Fund Exemption Request – A request to allow the Nuclear Decommissioning Trust Fund to be used for spent fuel management and site restoration (Holtec’s exemption request is included with the License Transfer Application).
• Entergy also submitted an Updated Spent Fuel Management Plan, which describes how Pilgrim intends to fund and manage all spent nuclear fuel until it is transferred to the U.S. Department of Energy for ultimate disposal.
The Entergy submittals will govern Pilgrim’s decommissioning if Entergy remains the plant owner and operator. If the sale, originally announced August 1, 2018, does not take place and the Entergy affiliate (Entergy Nuclear Generation Company) continues to own Pilgrim, the plant would be placed in “SAFSTOR,” the NRC-approved option that allows the Nuclear Decommissioning Trust Fund to grow over several decades before decommissioning and site restoration is completed by 2080. Entergy estimates total costs for decommissioning Pilgrim using the SAFSTOR method to be $1.66 billion. The Holtec submittals provide its plan for decommissioning the plant promptly.
Cautionary Note Regarding Forward-Looking Statements
In this news release, and from time to time, Entergy Corporation makes certain "forward-looking statements" within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. Such forward-looking statements include, among other things, Entergy's plans and expectations with respect to the Pilgrim Nuclear Power Station and the proposed sale transaction and other statements of Entergy's plans, beliefs or expectations included in this news release. Except to the extent required by the federal securities laws, Entergy undertakes no obligation to publicly update or revise any forward-looking statements, whether as a result of new information, future events, or otherwise.
The Pilgrim Nuclear Power Station employs about 600 nuclear professionals and generates 680 megawatts of virtually carbon-free electricity, enough to power more than 600,000 homes. Pilgrim began generating electricity in 1972. Entergy purchased the plant in 1999 from Boston Edison. Additional information is available at www.pilgrimpower.com.
Entergy Corporation is an integrated energy company engaged primarily in electric power production and retail distribution operations. Entergy owns and operates power plants with approximately 30,000 megawatts of electric generating capacity, including nearly 9,000 megawatts of nuclear power. Entergy delivers electricity to 2.9 million utility customers in Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, and Texas. Entergy has annual revenues of approximately $11 billion and more than 13,000 employees. Additional information is available at www.entergy.com.
Holtec International is a privately held energy technology company with operation centers in Florida, New Jersey, Ohio, and Pennsylvania in the U.S., and globally in Brazil, Dubai, India, South Africa, Spain, U.K., and Ukraine. Holtec’s principal business concentration is in the nuclear power industry. Holtec has played a preeminent role since the 1980s by densifying wet storage in nuclear plants’ spent fuel pools deferring the need for and expense of alternative measures by as much as two decades at over 110 reactor units in the U.S. and abroad. Dry storage and transport of nuclear fuel is another area in which Holtec is recognized as the foremost innovator and industry leader with a dominant market share and an active market presence in eighteen countries. Among the Company’s pioneering endeavors are the world’s first below-ground Consolidated Interim Storage Facility being developed in New Mexico and a 160-Megawatt walk away safe small modular reactor, SMR-160. The SMR-160 is developed to bring cost competitive carbon-free energy to all corners of the earth including water-challenged regions. Holtec is also a major supplier of special-purpose pressure vessels and critical-service heat exchange equipment such as air-cooled condensers, steam generators, feedwater heaters, and water-cooled condensers. Virtually all products produced by the Company are built in its three large manufacturing plants in the U.S. and one in India. Thanks to a solid record of consistent profitability and steady growth since its founding in 1986, Holtec has no history of any long-term debt and enjoys a platinum credit rating from the financial markets. Nearly 100 U.S. and international patents protect the Company’s intellectual property from predation by its global competitors and lend predictable stability to its business base. To learn more about Holtec International, please visit www.holtecinternational.com.