Our Pledge to the Communities that Host Nuclear Plants Served by Us
As a technology company with deep moorings in the commercial nuclear industry, we salute the communities across our land that welcomed nuclear power plants in their midst decades ago. We should all recognize that their support of nuclear generation has been hugely significant in mitigating the growing inventory of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. We are active in assisting with the safe storage of used nuclear fuel assemblies at 67 such plants in the US, and 51 plants overseas. In all cases except two (Pilgrim and Oyster creek, where we are the plant owner), we serve as a prime contractor to the plant owner with the responsibility to design and manufacture the most robust and safest system to safely store the fuel. Holtec’s all-welded stainless-steel multi-purpose canisters (MPCs) that contain the used fuel assemblies are designed and manufactured to the same rigorous quality criteria as the reactor vessels at the site that housed and confined decades of nuclear fission to produce heat energy. These MPCs, in turn, are enclosed by a massive steel and concrete structure that prevents the streaming of radiation from them, thus protecting the plant workers, the surrounding communities and the environment. Holtec’s commitment to the communities that we serve is that we hold personnel safety and stewardship of the environment as the principle tenants in the design, manufacturing and deployment of all equipment that we supply and especially that for storage and transportation of used nuclear fuel. Central to this commitment are the following:
- Our storage systems are designed and operated to provide maximum protection to personnel and the environment.
- The storage systems will withstand even the most egregious of man-made or natural hazardous or emergency events that the plant owner has identified as credible for the plant site.
- The storage systems have sufficient engineered margin to maintain total safety for a minimum of 100 years of service.
- Inherent in the design, there is no risk of an uncontrolled nuclear chain reaction.
We stand by the safety of our storage systems long after our contract with the owner will expire. For plants that local or state authorities deem to be vulnerable to excessive environmental risks, such as the San Onofre station in Southern California, we are establishing an explicit partnership agreement with the owner that would enable us to apply the full force of our know-how and technology to protect the integrity of the stored MPCs and maintain them in ready-to-ship state throughout their sojourn in your community.
All of us at Holtec are committed to ensuring that the health and safety of residents of the communities that host the plants served by us is not compromised, directly or indirectly, by our actions or by any inadequacy in the systems, structures and components that we provide to the plant.
Holtec’s commitment to the nuclear industry lead it to invest substantial company capital to resolve the nation’s continuing used nuclear fuel storage challenge by providing a supremely safe, secure, retrievable and centralized facility for storage of used nuclear fuel on an interim basis. The HI-STORE Consolidated Interim Storage Facility (CISF) in Lea County, New Mexico between the cities of Carlsbad and Hobbs, once licensed and funded, will aggregate and store the used fuel, presently stored at different nuclear plant sites in the U.S., in Holtec’s below–ground system known as HI-STORM UMAX. The HI-STORE CISF will provide the ability to readily extract the used fuel canisters and ship them to a permanent repository as soon as it is available. Movement of used fuel packaged in all-welded canisters, presently stored at shutdown nuclear plant sites to HI-STORE CIS facility will permit the nuclear plants to fully repurpose the land for more productive uses. The HI-STORE CIS can serve as the aging facility for the fuel (which is necessary to cool it down for interment in any repository). The HI-STORE CIS could thus serve a critical missing link in the nation’s back-end high-level-waste management program.
We assure the residents of the communities of the nuclear plants that we own that the decommissioning of these plants will replicate the superb record of public health and safety and environmental protection that typified the plant’s operations prior to Holtec’s ownership. We are committed to building upon this record as we enter this new chapter for each shuttered plant. Holtec expects to maximize the safety aspects of each site project by implementing a systematic decommissioning of the site decades sooner than would occur if the utility were to continue to own the shutdown plants. The first step is to complete moving the plant’s used nuclear fuel from its spent fuel pool to a robust dry storage system designed by Holtec and dismantling the highly activated parts from the nuclear reactor and transferring them to high capacity transport packages thus removing the majority of the radiation source. Completion of the plant’s decommissioning will render the sites fit for commercial/industrial use except for a small parcel of land where the dry storage casks containing the used nuclear fuel will be held under rigorous security until the canisters can be shipped off-site to the HI-STORE CIS in southeast New Mexico or until the Department of Energy’s final disposition. In the meantime, the MPCs will be safely secured and monitored in full accordance with NRC regulations.
Most emphatically, even if we are not bound by a contract, we consider it our moral duty to protect the personnel health and safety of those we serve and to be good stewards of the environment.
Joy R. Russell
Senior Vice President, Chief Strategy & Communications Officer