Three more years for USA's Pilgrim plant

15 April 2016

The Pilgrim nuclear power plant will be refuelled for the final time in 2017 and will cease operations on 31 May 2019, Entergy announced yesterday.

Pilgrim (Image: Entergy)

Entergy notified grid operator ISO New England Inc in October 2015 that Pilgrim would not participate in the capacity market after 31 May 2019, meaning that the plant would have to shut by 1 June 2019 at the latest. At that time, the company did not rule out the possibility of shutting the plant at the end of its current operating cycle in 2017. Entergy cited poor market conditions, reduced revenues and increased operational costs behind its decision to close the only nuclear power station in the state of Massachusetts.

Entergy will prepare a Post-Shutdown Decommissioning Activities report, which must be submitted to the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission no later than two years after the plant is shut down. The plan will describe planned decommissioning activities, a schedule, cost estimate and environmental impacts and will be a public document. Entergy has also said it will create a Nuclear Decommissioning Citizen's Advisory/Engagement Panel "to share information and educate the public".

The decision to operate Pilgrim's single 680 MWe boiling water reactor for a further three years means that the unit will enter its final refuelling outage in the spring of 2017. The plant is currently operating under increased regulatory oversight following on from a low-to-moderate safety finding in relation to issues involving safety relief valves.

The unit entered service in 1972 and is currently licensed to operate until 2032.

Researched and written
by World Nuclear News