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Emptying of Spent Fuel Pool Next Step at Shuttered Nuclear Plant via The Sand

December 20, 2020

By Gina G. Scala


The agreement comes after a strained relationship between the company and the township led to legal action. Since 1969, Lacey Township has been the host community to Oyster Creek, once the oldest operating commercial nuclear power plant in the nation. Holtec International and its subsidiary, Holtec Decommissioning International, successfully purchased and transferred licenses for the shuttered nuclear plant in 2019.

Oyster Creek, a boiling water reactor powered by General Electric, permanently ceased operations on Sept. 17, 2018. It was owned and operated at the time by Exelon Generation, which purchased the plant from GPU Inc. (now part of First Energy) in the 1990s.

“I am glad that we have reached an amicable agreement with Holtec regarding the decommissioning of Oyster Creek,” Lacey Township Mayor Steven Kennis said. “We hope to build a lasting, long-term relationship with Holtec that will bring a positive benefit to all the people that live and work in Lacey.”

From the beginning, Holtec officials said the company’s preferred method for decommissioning Oyster Creek was a DECON, or decontamination, method, in which equipment, structures and portions of the facility and site that contain radioactive contaminants are promptly removed and decontaminated to a level that permits termination of the license shortly after cessation of operations.

Under its decommissioning plans, HDI will move used fuel from its place in the spent nuclear pool to an onsite dry storage facility after the nuclear waste has cooled for 2½ years. All of Oyster Creek’s used nuclear fuel was moved to its spent fuel pool in September 2018, about a week after plant ceased operations for good.

The federal Nuclear Regulatory Commission has authorized the moving of spent fuel to dry storage as early as three years after it was moved to the spent fuel pool. The industry average, according to the NRC, is 10 years.


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