Take this denial as a confirmation of long term planning from a multi national corporation. Also as a playbook for what we will have to contend with at Indian Point. Moving used fuel from the pool after 3 years now seems to be the approved standard. Note that the NRC does not make a distinction for high burn up fuel.
Reports that Holtec International is planning to locate a small modular nuclear reactor at its decommissioning Oyster Creek Nuclear Generating Station in Lacey Township are premature, though company officials said there is interest.
“It is effectively a sitting concept at this time,” Joe Delmar, Holtec’s senior director of government affairs and communications, said.
Delmar said the company expressed interest in possibly locating an SMR-160 small modular reactor at the Oyster Creek site in the future as part of its application to the Department of Energy for the advanced reactor demonstration program.
“This concept is only preliminary and something we would likely discuss with Lacey Township and the community if plans to locate an SMR-160 small modular reactor at Oyster Creek evolve,” he said. “Though we are actively engaged with the Nuclear Regulatory Commission and its regulatory process, we have not submitted a formal licensing application to date.”
Just last month, Holtec officials announced the Department of Energy awarded advanced reactor demonstration program funding for its SMR-160 small modular reactor funding to supports its commercialization preparedness for license and use in the future.
“The SMR-160 can produce electricity and process steam and can use cooling water or air to reject its waste heat. All safety-significant functions are passive and render the plant unconditionally safe,” according to the company’s Dec. 16 Holtec Happenings newsletter. “SMR-160 is designed such that all the cooling water needed for safe shutdown of the plant, under even the most severe accident scenarios, is integral to the plant and securely located to prevent the reactor from overheating.”
Oyster Creek, a boiling water reactor powered by General Electric, permanently ceased operations on Sept. 17, 2018. Holtec Decommissioning International, a subsidiary of Holtec International, assumed ownership and licensee status of Oyster Creek in June 2019 after a nearly 10-month application review by the NRC. The plant had previously been owned by Exelon Generation, part of the Exelon Corp. nuclear fleet.
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 NRC 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.
Now that moving spent nuclear fuel from the fuel pool is permitted, Holtec officials said the decommissioning of Oyster Creek will continue as scheduled. This year, the company will move the remaining spent nuclear fuel into 33 dry cask storage systems at the site’s independent spent fuel storage installation pad.
Once that work is completed, the decommissioning process will focus on segmenting the reactor pressure vessel and begin demolition of the former intake structure, former turbine and reactor buildings, according to Holtec officials.
Decommissioning of the shuttered nuclear plant is expected to be completed by 2025. Holtec officials will ask for a partial site release, with the only exception being the onsite dry cask storage pad. Dry storage must remain at the site until the federal government takes possession of it.
By Gina G. Scala