Pilgrim Decommissioning

FAQs

  • 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 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 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 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 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.

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

    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 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 will Holtec keep the community informed?

    Keeping neighbors and stakeholders informed has always been a priority at Pilgrim. Holtec, and their decommissioning general contractor CDI, regularly attend and provide 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.

  • How can I learn about Pilgrim decommissioning?

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