Holtec eyes acquisition of Pilgrim Nuclear Power Station

Published on November 20, 2018 by Chris Galford

Credit: Entergy

Affiliates of Entergy Corp. and Holtec International have requested the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) approve Holtec’s purchase of Pilgrim Nuclear Power Station once it shuts down next year.

The Plymouth, Mass.-based plant is scheduled to permanently shut down by June 1, 2019, to begin decommissioning and site restoration. The companies filed a joint License Transfer Application, seeking transfer of both the site and its Nuclear Decommissioning Trust Fund to Holtec. They hope to see approval by May 31, 2019 so the companies can complete a transition by year’s end.

Holtec’s filings detail how its subsidiary, Holtec Decommissioning International, intends to complete the dismantling, decontamination, and remediation of the work done on Pilgrim by the end of 2027. Holtec’s process achieves site restoration decades sooner than if Entergy retained the plant while meeting all applicable local, state and federal regulations, Entergy said.

Over all, the decommissioning costs are estimated by Holtec to reach $1.13 billion, supported by a $1.05 billion trust fund. Holtec will contract with Comprehensive Decommissioning International, LLC to undertake both demolition and site cleanup.

Once concluded, the project will release the site from its current NRC license, save for storage of spent nuclear fuel in dry casks until offsite transfer. Intentions are to ship that fuel within three years of plant shutdown, presumably to a Consolidated Interim Storage Facility in New Mexico, which Holtec is currently applying for through the NRC.

If the sale, originally announced in August, does not take place and Entergy affiliate Entergy Nuclear Generation Co. continues to own Pilgrim, the plant would have to utilize 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 that alternate method to be $1.66 billion.