Oyster Creek Decommissioning

FAQs

  • How long will it take to decommission Oyster Creek?

    As stated in the PSDAR, Holtec plans to decommission Oyster Creek (with the exception of the Independent Spent Fuel Storage Installation) on an eight-year schedule to permit NRC partial site release.

  • How can Holtec complete Oyster Creek’s decommissioning in the schedule timeframe?

    Part of decommissioning is moving the spent nuclear fuel from storage in the spent fuel pool to the dry storage facility called an Independent Spent Fuel Storage Installation (or ISFSI) which used to take five or more years after reactor shutdown. Holtec has dry storage systems, which allow the transfer to be safely completed in less than three years. The rest of the decommissioning activities can be safely started sooner and be performed more efficiently with the spent nuclear fuel on the ISFSI.

  • How much spent fuel is there at Oyster Creek and how is it being stored?

    The used fuel is currently in the spent fuel pool and the existing Independent Spent Fuel Storage Installation (ISFSI). This includes 2,430 fuel assemblies in the spent fuel pool and 2,074 fuel assemblies on the ISFSI pad. Holtec intends to move the remaining spent fuel from the pool into dry cask storage on the ISFSI pad, where it will be safely maintained and managed by Holtec until such time as the fuel is removed from site.

  • What is the timeline to move the remaining spent fuel to the Independent Spent Fuel Storage Installation (ISFSI)?

    The fuel assemblies in the spent fuel pool will be moved into dry cask storage on the ISFSI pad beginning in January 2021 and will be completed by November 2021.

  • When will Oyster Creek’s spent fuel be removed from site?

    The federal government has the obligation to take receipt of used fuel located at nuclear stations across the industry. At this time, there is no clear timeline for that action. Holtec has submitted its license application to build a consolidated interim used fuel management facility in New Mexico. Oyster Creek’s used fuel could be relocated to this facility.

  • How will materials be removed from the site during decommissioning?

    Holtec continues to explore all options for the safe and efficient removal of materials from the site including trucking and barging of waste. Once shipping decisions are finalized this will be shared with the local community. All shipping decisions will put safety first and would be done to minimize impact on the local community and environment.

  • Why was Oyster Creek’s Emergency Planning Zone (EPZ) reduced?

    The emergency planning zone was reduced to the site boundary. This allowance is determined based on careful review and consideration of scientific data related to the risks associated with a potential issue with the spent fuel pool. With the reactor no longer in operation, and the multiple defense in depth options to maintain adequate level in the spent fuel pool, the scientific basis for the reduction is warranted. The change was consistent with other decommissioning plants and was approved by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.

  • What are the safety implications of leaving spent fuel in canisters located near the coastline? Aren’t there flooding concerns for the site?

    As recently as 2012, Superstorm Sandy caused flooding in the Pine Barrens. Yet, flooding only reached 6 ft. above sea level. Oyster Creek’s spent fuel is very safely stored at 24 ft. above sea level.

  • Is there enough money available in Oyster Creek’s Nuclear Decommissioning Trust Fund to safely complete decommissioning?

    Based off its Decommissioning Cost Estimate (DCE), Holtec is confident that sufficient funding is available to safely complete Oyster Creek’s decommissioning. Management and use of the Nuclear Decommissioning Trust Fund (DTF) is regulated by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission. Though the DTF is expected to continue to grow, NRC regulations only allow licensees to assume a conservative minimum two percent real rate of return which takes inflation and other cost increases into consideration. In addition, licensees are required to submit an annual report to the NRC on decommissioning costs. If the NRC believed the DTF was insufficient, they can impose restrictions if the balance were to be off significantly — the NRC could ask to stop work or require additional funding into the DTF before decommissioning work can proceed.

  • Exelon previously entered into an agreement with the State of New Jersey regarding decommissioning the plant. Is Holtec upholding that agreement?

    As the current owner of Oyster Creek, Holtec has assumed all responsibility for the site, including the agreement with the State of New Jersey associated with the Administrative Consent Order of 2018.

  • How will Holtec keep the local community informed? Will you have a Stakeholder Information Forum?

    Keeping neighbors and stakeholders informed has always been a priority at Oyster Creek. That has not changed. Holtec has already hosted and will continue to hosts future Stakeholder Information Forums, to provide a regular stream of information regarding its plans for decommissioning.

  • Will Holtec form a local Oyster Creek nuclear decommissioning advisory panel like other communities?

    Nothing prevents the local community from creating its own nuclear decommissioning advisory panel. Based off Oyster Creek’s interactions with stakeholders, Holtec will continue the long-standing practice of hosting an annual Stakeholder Information Forums. In addition, the State of New Jersey has created the Oyster Creek Safety Advisory Panel to help monitor the decommissioning of the plant.

  • Will Holtec dredge the Barnegat Bay?

    Holtec has no plans to dredge Barnegat Bay at this time.

  • Is Holtec using non-union labor to decommission Oyster Creek?

    Holtec’s decommissioning team has a National Labor Agreement (NLA) in place with the Laborers’ International Union of North America, Operating Engineers of North America and the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers. Working through these unions, local union halls near Oyster Creek have been identified to provide the necessary skilled labor needed to safely execute and complete decommissioning.

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

    Holtec has no immediate plans for the site at this time. As decommissioning proceeds further along, Holtec looks forward to partnering with the local community about possible future uses.

  • How can I learn more about Oyster Creek decommissioning?

    To learn more about Oyster Creek decommissioning, visit www.oystercreekdecom.com.