1.0 Site Identification
|Type of Site:
||Power Reactor Facility
2.0 Site Status Summary
Pilgrim Nuclear Power Station (PNPS) is located on the western shore of Cape Cod Bay in the Town of Plymouth, Plymouth County, Massachusetts. It is 38 miles southwest of Boston, Massachusetts, and 44 miles east of Providence, Rhode Island. PNPS is a facility with a General Electric boiling water reactor nuclear steam supply system that was licensed to generate 2,028 megawatts – thermal (MWt). Power operations ceased at Pilgrim on May 31, 2019, and that the fuel was permanently removed from the reactor vessel and placed in the spent fuel pool on June 9, 2019. PNPS is also the site of the generally-licensed Pilgrim Independent Fuel Storage Installation (ISFSI). The PNPS and the Pilgrim ISFSI are currently owned by Holtec International and the licensed decommissioning operator is Holtec Decommissioning International, LLC (HDI).
The HDI decommissioning strategy is DECON. HDI estimates that it will complete radiological decommissioning and release for unrestricted use of all portions of the site to NRC requirements by September 2027, except for the ISFSI ("partial site release"). HDI's decommissioning schedule is depicted in the HDI Fleet Annual Report on Status of Decommissioning Funding for Reactors and Independent Spent Fuel Storage Installations (ADAMS Accession No. ML20091M858). Figure 1 to Enclosure 2 of this annual report provides the current Pilgrim decommissioning schedule revised from the schedule provided in the November 16, 2018, Revised Post-Shutdown Decommissioning Activities Report (ADAMS Accession No. ML18320A040).
The NRC continues its oversight after the permanent shutdown of the facility to ensure the reactor is being decommissioned safely and that spent fuel is safely and securely stored onsite. The NRC staff will periodically inspect operations at the site to ensure that decommissioning activities are being conducted in accordance with all applicable regulations and commitments. At the end of July 2020, HDI completed Phase I of its Spent Fuel Transfer Campaign (loading 11 new casks onto the existing Independent Spent Fuel Storage Installation (ISFSI) pad). The licensee is in the process of building a new ISFSI which will eventually hold all the Pilgrim spent fuel casks. Construction of the new ISFSI is estimated to be completed by the end of 2020; however, it cannot be used until the ISFSI Physical Security Plan license amendment application review is completed, amendment approval is obtained, and any implementation requirements are met. Also, the HDI now is preparing for plant systems removal and is currently conducting some building decontamination and some non-nuclear island building demolition. Reactor Pressure Vessel segmentation plans are being developed but actual implementation is planned after the completion of the Phase II Spent Fuel Transfer Campaign. HDI estimates that all the spent fuel will be transferred to dry storage onto the new ISFSI by January 2022.
3.0 Major Technical or Regulatory Issues
By letter dated November 10, 2015 (ADAMS Accession No. ML15328A053), Entergy Nuclear Operations, Inc. (ENOI) notified the NRC of its intent to permanently cease operations at Pilgrim no later than June 1, 2019. By letter dated June 10, 2019 (ADAMS Accession No. ML19161A033), ENOI certified to the NRC that power operations ceased at Pilgrim on May 31, 2019, and that fuel was permanently removed from the reactor vessel and placed in the SFP on June 9, 2019. Accordingly, pursuant to Title 10 of the Code of Federal Regulations (10 CFR) 50.82(a)(2), the Pilgrim Renewed Facility Operating License (RFOL) no longer authorizes operation of the reactor or emplacement or retention of fuel in the reactor vessel.
By letter dated November 16, 2018 (ADAMS Accession No. ML18320A031), ENOI, on behalf of itself and Entergy Nuclear Generation Company (ENGC) (to be known as Holtec Pilgrim, LLC), Holtec International (Holtec), and HDI (together, Applicants), requested that the NRC consent to: (1) the indirect transfer of control of RFOL No. DPR‑35 for Pilgrim, as well as the general license for the Pilgrim ISFSI (collectively, the Licenses), to Holtec; and (2) the direct transfer of ENOI's operating authority (i.e., its authority to conduct licensed activities at Pilgrim) to HDI. In addition, the Applicants requested that the NRC approve a conforming administrative amendment to the Licenses to reflect the proposed direct transfer of the License from ENOI to HDI; a planned name change for ENGC from ENGC to Holtec Pilgrim, LLC; and deletion of certain license conditions to reflect satisfaction and termination of all ENGC obligations after the license transfer and equity sale.
On August 22, 2019 (ADAMS Accession No. ML19170A265), the NRC staff approved the Pilgrim direct and indirect license transfers and the license transfer transaction was consummated on August 26, 2019 (ADAMS Accession No. ML19239A037). On August 27, 2019 (ADAMS Accession No. ML19235A050), the NRC issued Amendment No. 249 to the RFOL No. DPR–35 for Pilgrim. The NRC staff documented its review of the HDI-submitted DECON PSDAR in letter dated October 28, 2019 (ADAMS Accession No. ML19224A540).
In an adjudicatory matter regarding a transfer of the Pilgrim license from ENOI to Holtec and HDI, two separate petitions (one filed by Pilgrim Watch and the other filed by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts) to intervene were filed before the Commission. Separately, the Commonwealth of Massachusetts also filed a petition for review in the DC Circuit, challenging the NRC's decisions on the transfer, exemption (to use some of the decommissioning trust fund for spent fuel management and site restoration), and license amendment. At that time, the Commission did not yet rule on the hearing requests. There were subsequent legal filings on June 30, 2020 (ADAMS Accession No. ML20183A122), and on July 22, 2020 (ADAMS Accession Nos. ML20210M018 and ML20206K854). As a result, the petitions associated with the Commonwealth of Massachusetts were dismissed. The Commission has not yet ruled on the open hearing request.