We are pleased to announce that after months of good faith negotiation, the Commonwealth of Massachusetts and Holtec have amicably and productively come to agreement on all key issues related to the safe decommissioning of the shuttered Pilgrim nuclear plant. This agreement provides the Commonwealth with decommissioning trust fund protection, stricter radiological clean-up limits, additional site monitoring and oversight. As a result of Holtec providing these additional protections, the Commonwealth agrees to remove their pending contentions and legal actions in opposition to the license transfer. This spirit of cooperation is similarly seen in the Administrative Consent Order with the State of NJ for Oyster Creek.
The accord, signed by the two parties on June 16, 2020, allows Holtec to focus on meeting the decommissioning timeline, which is safely enabled through employing Holtec cutting edge methods and technology, as befits a global decommissioning leader focused on protecting the health and safety of the citizens of the Commonwealth and preserving the environment. Holtec acquired Pilgrim from Entergy in August of 2019.
Among the benefits from the innovative initiatives being deployed by Holtec at Pilgrim (and similarly at Oyster Creek) is the minimization of radiation dose emitted from the on-site fuel storage facility by using a densified cask array and regionalized cask arrangement to maximize self-shielding. This on-site storage configuration is expected to cut the total dose emitted at the site boundary significantly from the prior estimated value at both Pilgrim and Oyster Creek (which Holtec acquired from Exelon in July 2019).
When the buildings and structures come down, the controlled area will shrink to a mere 50 acres of the present expanse of 1600 acres. In its drive to remove all nuclear fuel and high-level waste material from the Pilgrim site, Holtec is diligently working on establishing a state-of-the-art consolidated interim storage facility in southeastern New Mexico. Known as HI-STORE CISF, the facility would provide a supremely safe, secure, retrievable, and centralized facility for storing spent nuclear fuel from Pilgrim. Indeed, HI-STORE CISF will help Oyster Creek and other former nuclear plant sites around the country to be completely de-nuclearized. In particular, this would enable the entire Pilgrim site to be available for redevelopment.
“I’m pleased we were able to work with the Commonwealth of Massachusetts to find common ground that provides Holtec the certainty needed to safely complete decommissioning on the projected timeline,” stated Pam Cowan, Chief Operating Officer of Holtec Decommissioning International (HDI). “Our commitment to be a good neighbor, and our shared goal of protecting the health and safety of our workers, the community, and the environment were clear drivers for both parties that
led to this agreement.”
Holtec has previously announced purchase-sale agreements for the Indian Point Energy Center in New York and Palisades in Michigan, both owned by Entergy which, subject to regulatory approvals, are expected to change ownership in the late spring of 2021 and 2022, respectively. These two new sites will also become the most eligible candidates for clearing them of their used nuclear fuel using our planned HI-STORE CISF in New Mexico.
HI-STORE CISF is not a permanent repository. Rather, it is an interim storage facility which is completely passive and is designed to withstand acts of terror or severity of extreme environmental phenomena. The fuel stored at HI-STORE will cool with the passage of time becoming suitable to be interred in a permanent repository. Thus, HI-STORE is a complement, not a competitor to a repository.
We expect the USNRC to issue the license for HI-STORE CISF in the Spring of 2021 which will enable us to enter earnest contract negotiations with potential customers.