United States Nuclear Regulatory Commission - Protecting People and the Environment

NRC Staff to Meet with Public to Discuss Big Rock Point Decommissioning Activities



NRC Seal NRC NEWS

U. S. NUCLEAR REGULATORY COMMISSION

OFFICE OF PUBLIC AFFAIRS, REGION III

801 Warrenville Road, Lisle IL 60532

CONTACT:    Jan Strasma (630) 829-9663/e-mail: rjs2@nrc.gov
Angela Greenman Phone: (630) 829-9662/e-mail: opa3@nrc.gov

NEWS ANNOUNCEMENT: RIII-97-94

October 29, 1997

NRC STAFF TO MEET WITH PUBLIC TO DISCUSS BIG ROCK POINT DECOMMISSIONING ACTIVITIES

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission staff will hold a public meeting on November 13 to discuss the decommissioning of the Big Rock Point Nuclear Station, Charlevoix, Michigan. The facility permanently shut down on August 29.

The meeting will focus on Consumers Energy's decision to immediately dismantle the facility -- a change from the utility's original plans to leave the plant in safe storage for about 26 years prior to dismantlement.

It will be chaired by Philip Johnson, Chairman, Charlevoix County Board of Commissioners and will be at 6:30 p.m. in the Charlevoix Township Hall (Stroud Hall), 12491 Waller Road in Charlevoix.

The program will include presentations by the NRC on the decommissioning regulatory process and by Consumers Energy on the status of decommissioning activities. A question and answer period will follow.

NRC has received the required certifications from the utility that Big Rock Point has permanently ceased power operations and that all nuclear fuel has been removed permanently from the reactor vessel.

In 1995, Consumers Energy submitted the Big Rock Point post-shutdown decommissioning activities report to the NRC. This report (previously referred to as the Big Rock Point Decommissioning Plan) detailed the plan to leave the plant in safe storage for 26 years before beginning dismantlement. The report was discussed in public meetings held in May 1995 and March of this year.

On September 19 the utility informed the NRC of its plans to forgo the original decommissioning plan and to proceed to dismantlement and decontamination. It revised its post-shutdown decommissioning activities report accordingly.

Under NRC decommissioning regulations, utilities are permitted to immediately dismantle the plant or to place it in safe storage for a period of time before dismantlement, provided certain regulations are met.

During the dismantlement, contaminated equipment will be removed, packaged and shipped to a waste processing or low level radioactive waste disposal facility. Equipment and systems to be removed include the reactor vessel, turbine, large pumps, valves, and piping systems. Some plant equipment also will be decontaminated during this process.

Decontamination is expected to take five years. Once it is completed, the utility plans to restore the site to a "green field" condition -- essentially like that present before the plant was built.

NRC will conduct inspections during all phases of decommissioning. The agency also will independently evaluate the radiological condition of the plant site during the final phase.

Consumers Energy is required to submit a final plan two years before it is ready to terminate the Big Rock Point license. This plan, among other things, must describe any remaining radioactivity on the site, the final radiation survey details and the site's planned end-use. NRC will publish the license termination plan for public comment, hold a public meeting near the plant to discuss the utility's plans, and provide an opportunity for a public hearing.

Consumers Energy's decommissioning reports are available for public inspection in the NRC local public document room at the North Central Michigan College, 1515 Howard Street in Petoskey, Michigan.

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