The decommissioning of Oyster Creek and Pilgrim Station continue to progress with safety, precision and efficiency. 

“Our motivated teams at both Oyster Creek and Pilgrim are setting standards and raising the bar on safety and excellence,” said Pam Cowan, Senior Vice President and Chief Operating Officer for Holtec Decommissioning International. “We don’t just say we are leading the industry in decommissioning excellence, our talented men and women at the sites demonstrate it, every single day.”

Visible Changes at Oyster Creek 

The latter portion of the summer brought about visible changes at Oyster Creek, with the removal of another building and three storage tanks. 

Demolition at Oyster Creek Decommissioning Site

The North Gate Guardhouse security building was originally used as a secondary security building and entrance for employees and visitors, especially during refueling outages when the number of temporary personnel often went into the thousands. Later, the building was used as office work space for Electrical Maintenance team members.

North Gate Guardhouse Before and During Demolition at Oyster Creek Decommissioning Site

In addition, a demineralized water storage tank was taken down, crushed and shipped for recycling, a lube oil tank was removed and transported in one piece for salvage, and the Torus Water Storage Tank was cut in pieces and removed.

Torus Water Storage Tank Demolition at Oyster Creek Decommissioning Site

Oyster Creek Waste Management: Committed to Reduce, Reuse, Recycle

Holtec is commited to waste management. Since July of 2019, Oyster Creek has made 12 shipments of low-level radioactive waste – four in 2019 and eight so far this year – some 462,000 pounds. Of that, only 36,384 pounds – less than 8 percent – was buried as radioactive waste. The remaining 92 percent was processed for volume reduction, released to landfills as clean waste or sent to metal recovery foundries for recycling. 

It is not just radioactive waste that Oyster Creek works to conserve. Just as you follow the conservation rules of reduce, reuse and recycle for your household waste, Oyster Creek does the same for all its non-radioactive waste as well. 

Here is a look at what Oyster Creek recycled in 2019:

  • 118,360 pounds of co-mingled waste, including paper, cardboard, glass, aluminum cans, etc.
  • 77,000 gallons of oil from Oyster Creek’s transformers before they were dismantled
  • Over 67,000 pounds of steel, aluminum and copper
  • Over two tons of wood, 160 pounds of lamp lights (universal) and 1,600 pounds of coolant

Pilgrim Prepares for Reactor Vessel Segmentation

Pilgrim is readying its Reactor Building Refuel Floor for its next milestone – vessel segmentation, where key components within the reactor vessel are removed, cut up and placed in sealed robust containers for removal and storage.To prepare for segmentation, the Pilgrim Decommissioning Team first reassembled the dryer and separator in the reactor cavity. This work was was completed safely and set the stage for the next step in segmentation preparation.

Dryer Separator Reinstallation at Pilgrim Station Decommissioning Site

With the dryer and separator back in the reactor vessel, the reactor cavity and dryer-separator pit were drained down so that specialized tooling could be installed. These tools will allow components to be cut up under water. Prior to use, all of the cutting tools were rigorously tested by the manufacturer to assure strength and reliability. These tools are currently being delivered to Pilgrim, with the actual segmentation work ready to begin later this month.

Preparing a Location for Safe Temporary Waste Storage

When the reactor vessel segmentation gets underway, strong and impervious storage boxes will contain the cut-up materials. The boxes are designed and manufactured by Holtec International and built for safety, security and shielding. A special secure area on plant property is being set up to temporarily store these containers while they await shipment offsite.

As shown in the photo below, the Pilgrim Decommissioning Team has started placing Legioblocks in the area. Legioblock® is a flexible concrete construction system of interlocking concrete blocks. These blocks allow a flexible footprint to hold waste that can fit the site’s needs and allow changes to be made during the project. This important part of our execution will allow for increased shielding during storage of the waste until it is eventually taken to an off-site facility for final disposition.

Legio Blocks Installed at Pilgrim Station Decommissioning Site