NRC approves Indian Point licence transfer

25 November 2020

The US Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) has approved the transfer of the Indian Point nuclear power plant's licences from Entergy Nuclear Operations to Holtec International, as owner, and Holtec Decommissioning International (HDI), as decommissioning operator. The transfer will help facilitate the sale of the plant from Entergy to Holtec for expedited decommissioning after the final operating unit shuts down in April next year.

Indian Point units 2 and 3 (Image: Entergy)

The NRC order approving the licence transfer is effective immediately, but it will not be finalised until after unit 3's permanent shutdown and the completion of the transaction between Entergy, Holtec and HDI, the regulator said. The licence transfer also includes the plant's dry cask used fuel storage installation.

Entergy Corp agreed in April 2019 to sell the Indian Point Energy Center to Holtec for expedited decommissioning and dismantling of the plant after the closure of the last operating unit at the site, which is in New York State. Unit 2 permanently closed in April this year after more than 45 years of operation; unit 1 operated from 1962 until 1974.

The NRC concluded that Holtec and HDI met the regulatory, legal, technical and financial requirements necessary to qualify as licensees after considering their technical and financial qualifications, the adequacy of the Indian Point decommissioning trust funds to complete the radiological decommissioning of the plant, and the adequacy of plans to manage the onsite storage of used nuclear fuel until it can be removed for storage or disposal elsewhere.

The regulator has previously approved the transfers of two shutdown plants - Oyster Creek in New Jersey and Pilgrim in Massachusetts - to Holtec for expedited decommissioning. Holtec said it believed those two ongoing projects provided the NRC with "stout evidence" in support of its application. The company plans to begin the decommissioning process promptly upon taking ownership of the New York plant, providing job opportunities for about 300 of Indian Point's current employees. This is a larger number than would have remained at the site under the previously planned deferred decommissioning approach, it said.

Holtec plans to transfer all of Indian Point's used fuel from the plant’s pools to dry casks, which will be stored at an on-site Independent Spent Fuel Storage Installation pad within 2.5 years after shutdown. Ultimately, it aims to transfer the used fuel to its proposed Consolidated Interim Storage underground storage facility in New Mexico.

Researched and written by World Nuclear News