Pilgrim Nuclear Power Station

Life cycle timeline consisting of 6 various stages of status (Pre-Licensing, Licensing, Construction, Operating, Operating with Intent to Decommission, Decommissioning) with the current status(s) shown in color, and the other available status are greyed out

Photograph of Pilgrim 1

Location: Plymouth, MA (38 miles SE of Boston, MA) in Region I
Operator: Holtec International (owner) and Holtec Decommissioning International, LLC
Operating License: Issued – 06/08/1972
Renewed Operating License:  Issued – 05/29/2012
License Expires – 06/08/2032
Docket Number: 05000293

Facility Type: Power Reactor, Boiling Water Reactor
Licensed MWt: 2,028
Reactor Vendor/Type: General Electric Type 3
Containment Type: Wet, Mark I

Plant Diagram

*The information on this tab does not reflect the facility's current status. It has been retained for historical purposes.

Date Title
11/16/2018 Revised Post-Shutdown Decommissioning Activities Report
11/16/2018 Post-Shutdown Decommissioning Activities Report
11/10/2015 Notification of Permanent Cessation of Power Operations

1.0 Site Identification

Type of Site: Power Reactor Facility
Location: Plymouth, MA
License No.: DPR-35
Docket No.: 50-293
License Status: DECON
Project Manager: Karl Sturzebecher

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 the fuel was permanently removed from the reactor vessel and placed in the spent fuel pool (SFP) on June 9, 2019.  PNPS is also the site of the generally licensed Pilgrim Independent Spent 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 active decommissioning, also referred to as DECON.  HDI estimates that it will complete radiological decommissioning and release all portions of the site for unrestricted use except for the Pilgrim ISFSI by September 2027, (resulting in a "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 (PSDAR) (ADAMS Accession No. ML18320A040).

The NRC continues its oversight 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 ISFSI pad). The licensee subsequently built a new ISFSI to hold all of the Pilgrim spent fuel casks; ISFSI-II is currently in operation and all Pilgrim fuel and greater-than-Class C (GTCC) waste is stored there.

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 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, the 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 Licenses 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 RFOL No. DPR–35 for Pilgrim.  The NRC staff documented its review of the HDI-submitted Pilgrim PSDAR in a letter dated October 28, 2019 (ADAMS Accession No. ML19224A540).

4.0 Public Interest

There has been recent interest regarding effluent discharges from PNPS during decommissioning. The NRC has assembled the responses to several questions related to this process, which can be found on the FAQ page for Liquid Effluent Discharges at PNPS.

The NRC regulates the disposal of radioactive waste under several regulatory provisions (see 10 CFR 20.2001; 20.1301; 20.2003; 20.2004; 20.2005; 10 CFR 35.92), such as transferring the material or waste to an authorized recipient, storing it for decay (decay-in-storage), and safely releasing it into the environment (effluent release). Any disposal method may be chosen if it meets the applicable NRC regulations.  The NRC regulations governing radioactive releases are based on the dose to the public, whatever the volume of the release.

Page Last Reviewed/Updated Tuesday, August 23, 2022