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 emergency response plans are in place to protect the health and safety of the public in the unlikely event that something happens at Oyster Creek now that it is in the process of decommissioning?

    The conditions that could prompt a radiological emergency at Oyster Creek are negligible now that it is not operating. Still, state, county, and local emergency organizations, in cooperation with Holtec International, have developed a Post-Shutdown Emergency Response Plan that would be enacted in a highly unlikely radiological event. This plan is still reviewed and drilled regularly by emergency response organizations and the Company, to ensure its efficacy and applicability. These plans are available through the state and Ocean County for the public to view.

  • 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.

  • Has Holtec reduced the number of Security officers and Fire Brigade members on site?

    Much of Oyster Creek’s Security plan, including the number of employed Security officers and staff is safeguarded information. However, we can say that Oyster Creek is and will always be protected by a full staff of highly trained, armed security officers 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Every nuclear power station’s Security plan is commensurate with its operational status, the number of employees and others on site, and the site’s actual footprint. The security plan can be altered as those factors change. Holtec has optimized its security plan for Oyster Creek to align with the station’s evolution from an operating facility to a decommissioning one. All security plans are reviewed and approved by the NRC before they are enacted.

    NRC regulations for fire brigades also align with the station’s operational status, number of employees and facility combustible loading. As such, Holtec altered the fire brigade program for Oyster Creek. This plan was also approved by the NRC as well as our nuclear insurers, who oversee such matters.

  • How has the reduction in the number of Security officers and Fire Brigade members on site at Oyster Creek affected the safety and security of the station?

    These revisions are commensurate with the station’s operational status, risk level and overall footprint and do not compromise the health or safety of the public or our employees.

  • What would happen if there was a large fire at the site?

    Oyster Creek will always have fire brigade members on site, ready to respond in the event of a fire. One responsible person at the station will always immediately assess a potential fire situation and extinguish the fire if possible. Should the incident require additional resources, a call for outside response would be made. In accordance with state, county, and local coordination plans the proper resources would be dispatched to address the incident. Station Security, Radiation Protection and a second incipient brigade member – a station employee — would be responsible for gearing up and escorting the outside fire company to the exact location of the fire. An incipient fire brigade is authorized by our regulators and our insurers.

  • 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.

  • Does the State of New Jersey still have any control over what happens at Oyster Creek?

    Yes, the state continues to have jurisdiction for activities on site and regularly monitors our performance as well as radiation levels at and around the station. They will do so until all of the fuel is removed from the property. State radiological experts have access to the station and perform inspections at any time they deem necessary. Holtec and New Jersey DEP representatives share a strong, transparent working relationship.

  • 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 assurances are there that Holtec and CDI are hiring the best, most reliable contractors to complete decommissioning activities at Oyster Creek?

    In early 2020, Comprehensive Decommissioning International (CDI) reached an agreement with construction and maintenance services company Williams Industrial Services Group to support the decommissioning of Oyster Creek as well as Pilgrim and other Holtec owned plants. Williams supplies supervision and craft labor for civil, electrical, and mechanical activities, demolition, and site remediation by working with local and regional unions to contract qualified workers for specific jobs.

    Before working on site, these workers must successfully complete rigorous access training, satisfy all Fitness for Duty requirements, which includes drug and alcohol screening, and undergo a criminal background check. In order to remain working at the station, they must adhere to all of the rules and regulations set forth by Holtec and the NRC or face disciplinary actions up to immediate termination.

  • 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.