• How long will it take to decommission Pilgrim?
    As stated in the PSDAR, Holtec plans to decommission Pilgrim (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 Pilgrim’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 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.

  • Is Holtec using non-union labor to decommission Pilgrim?

    Holtec’s decommissioning team has a National Labor Agreement (NLA) in place with the Operating Engineers of North America; the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers; the United Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners of America; and the International Association of Bridge, Structural, Ornamental and Reinforcing Iron Workers. Working through these unions, local union halls near Pilgrim have been identified to provide the necessary skilled labor needed to safely execute and complete decommissioning.

  • What is Holtec’s plan for the Pilgrim site and adjacent property after it has completed decommissioning?

    Holtec has no immediate plans for any of the property 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 about Pilgrim decommissioning?

    To learn more about Pilgrim decommissioning, visit www.pilgrimdecom.com.

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

    Sixty-one casks will be used to store Pilgrim’s spent nuclear fuel.

  • What are the Aging Management Plans for Independent Spent Fuel Storage Installations and Dry Cask Storage Systems at Pilgrim?

    The design, manufacturing, deployment, monitoring and maintenance activities for the HI-STORM 100 system are all conducted to ensure the safe storage of spent nuclear fuel. The aging management plan is under currently (July 2020) review by the NRC. Generally speaking, the first, baseline, inspection will occur within 365 days of the 20th anniversary of the initial overpack loading at the site; in the case of Pilgrim, the first inspection will occur in 2034. While the timeframe for actual inspection is some time away, the operations department performs daily visual inspections of the casks on the pad. In addition, we continue to collect and analyze new information on aging effects based on inspection findings and/or industry operating experience to ensure the continued safe storage of spent nuclear fuel. For more information, click here for a non-proprietary version of the renewal application for the casks. Finally, the Energy Power Research Institute Dry Canister Storage Canister Inspection from Diablo Canyon can be found here, as well as an update on Inspections of Dry Storage Canisters here.

  • What are the safety implications of leaving spent fuel in casks located near Cape Cod Bay? Are there any concerns for flooding?

    There are no safety concerns with leaving the HI-STORM systems where they are currently located (the current spent fuel storage pad is located at 25.5 feet above mean sea level). Holtec’s dry storage systems are extremely robust and can withstand all kinds of unusual and accident conditions including events from natural phenomena like flooding, earthquakes, burial under debris, lightning strikes, and other phenomena (e.g., seiches, tsunamis, and hurricanes). Holtec is currently building a new, larger pad to accommodate a complete defueling of the Pilgrim spent fuel pool by 2022. This pad will be located at 75 feet above mean sea level. The new location was chosen for a number of reasons, including environmental concerns, but is focused on allowing prompt decommissioning in a safe and efficient manner.

  • The new pad is located adjacent to Rocky Hill Road and may be visible during certain seasons because of the changes in foliage. Is this safe?

    As long as used fuel remains on site, a highly trained security force and a fortified security perimeter will remain in place according to Nuclear Regulatory Commission regulations. In addition, Holtec is committed to working with the community to provide additional screening from the roadway.

  • When will Pilgrim’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 storage facility for spent fuel called HI-STORE in New Mexico. Pilgrim’s used fuel could be relocated to this facility.

  • How is “damaged” fuel (sometimes referred to as “degraded” and “defective”) defined?

    The Division of Spent Fuel Storage and Transportation, Interim Staff Guidance (ISG) – 1, Revision 2, Classifying the Condition of Spent Nuclear Fuel for Interim Storage and Transportation Based on Function (ML071420268), provides guidance on classifying spent nuclear fuel as either (1) damaged, (2) undamaged, or (3) intact, before interim storage or transportation. View ISG-1, Rev. 2 here.

  • Please provide NRC rules/guidance on treating damaged fuel before placing it within a dry cask storage system at Pilgrim.

    The HI-STORM 100 storage system and the HI-STAR 100 transportation system are each licensed to store and transport damaged fuel and fuel debris, respectively. Damaged fuel and fuel debris must be loaded into a Damaged Fuel Container (DFC) for storage in the MPC and subsequent transportation in the HI-STAR 100 overpack. The MPC-68 is qualified to accommodate up to 16 DFCs in each MPC-68 canister.

  • How does Holtec detect that a fuel assembly is damaged?

    In accordance with ISG-1 Rev. 2., for Pilgrim, Holtec was provided a report of the spent fuel classification program conducted by the previous owner. Holtec has validated the accuracy of the data and concurs with the classification. A summary of the spent fuel classification program follows:

    • In accordance with the definition in ISG-1 Rev. 2, review of reactor operating records was conducted to determine suspect assemblies.
    • Fuel sipping was conducted to determine if a fuel assembly has damage that exceeds the classification of undamaged fuel.
    • If the fuel sipping could not positively determine if a fuel assembly has damage that exceeds the classification of undamaged fuel, then it was conservatively classified as a damaged assembly.
  • How many fuel assemblies at Pilgrim has Holtec determined are damaged?

    It has been determined that there are 296 damaged fuel assemblies at Pilgrim. No fuel debris has been identified.

  • How does Holtec treat damaged fuel? Please explain any additional special packaging used for a degraded assembly within the dry storage system.

    To provide the secondary containment that is required by ISG-1 Rev. 2, Holtec uses Damaged Fuel Containers (DFC) for damaged fuel (see photo below). If fuel debris is encountered, the DFC would also be used for fuel debris.

  • What are NRC’s rules on storing and transporting damaged fuel?

    Damaged fuel and fuel debris are placed in a Damaged Fuel Container (DFC) for storage and transport in the MPC. The DFC is licensed for storage in the HI-STORM 100, HI-STORM FW and HI-STORM UMAX and for transport in the HI-STAR 100 and HI-STAR 190.

  • Why is the Emergency Planning Zone (EPZ) being reduced? Do the communities still receive funding for emergency preparedness?

    The emergency planning zone will be reduced to the site boundary on April 1, 2020. 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.

    Pilgrim has reached agreements with the former EPZ communities for demobilization of the program, while continuing to maintain an agreement with the host community of Plymouth through fuel on the pad which is projected to occur in 2021. Safety and security remain our #1 focus at Pilgrim Station.

  • How will Holtec keep the community informed?

    Keeping neighbors and stakeholders informed has always been a priority at Pilgrim. Holtec regularly attends and provides information to local and state boards. The Massachusetts Nuclear Decommissioning Citizens Advisory Panel (NDCAP), as well as the Plymouth Select Board routinely receive updates on the project. Past NDCAP meetings and information can be found here. In addition PACTV, the local cable access channel, posts each meeting on their YouTube channel for viewing, which can be found here.