FAQs

Pilgrim Decommissioning

  • How long will it take to decommission Pilgrim?

    Holtec has set a project goal of decommissioning the Pilgrim site to permit the NRC license to release the site except for the Independent Spent Fuel Storage Installation (ISFSI) within eight years or less.

  • How much will Pilgrim’s decommissioning cost compared to the funding available in the Decommissioning Trust Fund?

    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. It is assumed that the NDTF balance will continue to grow due to capital market performance over time, for the duration of Holtec’s ownership of the site thus providing sufficient funds to begin and complete decommissioning on its planned schedule.

  • How can the local community be sure that the decommissioning project will be completed?

    In addition to safety performance, the financial expenditure on the project is closely monitored by the NRC. If the expenditure were to overrun the projected spend rate, then the NRC can require the owner to provide supplemental financial guarantees. No decommissioning project has ever been left unfinished by a contractor.

  • How confident is Holtec that the decommissioning of Pilgrim will be done safely?

    Holtec is, and has been for 30 years, an industry leader in safe and secure storage of spent nuclear fuel. Holtec is committed to the nuclear industry, and part of that also includes the safe decommissioning of nuclear power plants.

  • How many casks will be used to hold all of Pilgrim’s spent nuclear fuel?

    Sixty-one casks will be used.

  • Are there any concerns about sea level rise with where the casks will be stored?

    There is no concern with sea level rise for the current or planned interim spent fuel storage installation (ISFSI). The current ISFSI is located at an elevation of 25’ above mean sea level and approximately 200’ from the shore. A new dry cask pad that will house the existing casks plus the balance will be constructed in an upper parking lot of the site some 75’ above mean sea level and more than 700 feet from the shoreline.

  • How often are the casks inspected?

    Casks at nuclear sites are subject to a well-conceived program of surveillance and monitoring approved by the NRC. In additions, the canisters are all-welded vessels; they have no seals or gaskets that can leak. As a result, no canister has ever leaked in service at any nuclear site.

  • How long do the casks last?

    The design life for a cask is hundreds of years. A cask’s original NRC license is for 20 years. The license can be renewed for additional 20-year intervals based off the implementation of the aging management plan required by the NRC.

  • What will happen to the water in the spent fuel pool?

    The water will be processed on site and any materials collected from the water will be properly disposed at facilities licensed to receive these materials. The clean water will be properly returned into the sewer system.

  • What happens to low-level waste?

    Low-level waste is disposed at facilities licensed to receive this material.

  • What is Holtec’s plan for the plant site after it has completed decommissioning?

    Holtec continues to engage with local elected officials about decommissioning and future possible uses. However, no final determination has been made at this time.