We applaud Entergy’s November 8, 2016 announcement to accelerate the decommissioning of Vermont Yankee by several decades. This pioneering move by Entergy should be a pace setter for the nuclear industry and welcome news for the people of Vermont. We are proud that this expedited decommissioning will be possible, in part, because of Holtec’s introduction of the industry’s first nanotechnology-derived fuel basket (Metamic-HT) a decade ago (in 2006), which makes it possible to safely transfer two-year old used fuel to dry storage in full accord with the NRC’s guidance and regulations. Accelerated defueling of the reactor vessel and the fuel pool equates to the expedited start of decommissioning of a retiring plant. Entergy’s announcement means that decommissioning does not need to be preceded by decades of SAFSTOR (wet storage in the fuel pool) with its cost and schedule uncertainty, and the sad silhouette of a deceased nuclear plant does not need to loom over the landscape for decades.
“Even with the accelerated commencement of decommissioning, no retired plant can be fully decommissioned so long as the spent nuclear fuel remains on site,” says Pierre Oneid, Holtec’s Executive spearheading Team Holtec – an alliance of leading North American companies with cutting edge expertise in different facets of decommissioning led by Holtec International.
To complete the virtuous cycle of expedited decommissioning, it is necessary to have a Consolidated Interim Storage Facility (CISF) where the canistered fuel can be shipped. Towards this end, Holtec is committed to submitting all required documentations to the NRC by March 2017 to secure a site-specific license for the HI-STORE CISF on the land acquired from our partners, ELEA, in Southeast New Mexico. An inventory of ancillary equipment and a multi-purpose transport cask to serve the HI-STORE site are being developed. The HI-STORE CISF license will permit canisters bearing an inventory of as little as six-year cooled fuel to be retrieved from the retired plants.
“Our efforts to advance the fuel management technology to help accelerate the life cycle of decommissioning programs should resonate with the residents of the communities that host the expired plants. We are leveraging our formidable technical talent pool to make the conversion of a retired plant site to green field safe and swift,” promises Holtec’s VP of Business Development, Ms. Joy Russell.