We are pleased to announce the successful completion of the largest defueling project of a BWR plant in the U.S. – a project that was completed in record time. Entergy Nuclear signed a contract with Holtec to expeditiously defuel the Vermont Yankee (VY) spent fuel pool. The overall project scope included construction of a second ISFSI pad, security expansion, engineering, licensing, manufacturing, delivery and loading of 45 HI-STORM cask systems, all on a turnkey basis.
In just over 3 ½ years from plant shut down, VY’s spent fuel pool was completely defueled (i.e., no spent fuel assemblies remain in the pool) setting a new benchmark in the industry. The last cask containing the remaining 39 spent fuel assemblies was safely placed on the ISFSI pad at 11:22PM (EST), August 1, 2018, well ahead of the project schedule. A total of 2,996 spent fuel assemblies were loaded into the dry storage canisters. The final ISFSI pad now contains a total of 58 HI-STORM systems of which 13 were loaded by VY while the plant was still operating and the remaining 45 casks were loaded after the plant shutdown.
Use of Holtec’s patented MPC-68M canister technology, featuring the Metamic-HTTM fuel basket, allowed for NRC’s approval of loading into dry storage canisters, spent fuel with as little as 2 years cooling time. Safe and early defueling of the spent fuel pool paves the way for decommissioning of the VY plant.
The success of this project was entirely a result of collaborative team effort between Entergy’s and Holtec’s teams led by Entergy’s Mr. Kenneth Swanger and Holtec’s Mr. Mike McNamara, respectively. The team worked continuously without pausing during the harsh winter of Vermont and on average loaded one cask every week.
“This accomplishment was an important display of the values in our Nuclear Excellence Model along with creativity and teamwork between the Vermont Yankee site staff, Entergy Corporate and our partner, Holtec. It highlighted our deep respect for Nuclear Safety and reinforced the strength of a collaborative relationship,” says Mr. Chris Costanzo, Entergy’s Chief Operating Officer, Northern Fleet.
“The completion of this project, safely and ahead of schedule, clearly demonstrates our Cask System’s capabilities, our performance standards, and true partnership with Entergy,” says PK Chaudhary, Holtec’s Senior Vice President of Operations.