NRC opens Palisades’ decommissioning plans to public comment

September 12, 2022, 7:09AMRadwaste Solutions
The Palisades nuclear power plant.

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission has made Holtec International’s post-shutdown decommissioning activities report (PSDAR) for the closed Palisades nuclear power plant available for public comment until December 27. The NRC also plans to hold a public meeting to discuss the report on the evening of September 22 at the South Haven campus of Lake Michigan College, about 10 miles north of the Palisades site in Covert, Mich.

Release of the PSDAR, which provides an overview of Holtec’s planned activities, schedule, projected costs, and environmental impacts for the decommissioning of Palisades, follows the transfer of the plant’s license from Entergy Corporation to Holtec subsidiary Holtec Decommissioning International (HDI), which will oversee the decommissioning work.

Notice of the public comment period for the Palisades PSDAR was published in the August 26 Federal Register, with a correction regarding the time of the public meeting published on September 9. Comments on the PSDAR can be submitted through the federal rulemaking website with a search for Docket ID NRC-2022-0158.

The PSDAR: Holtec submitted its Palisades PSDAR to the NRC in December 2020, contingent on the transfer of the plant’s license to HDI. The transfer was finalized on June 28 after the single-unit pressurized water reactor was removed from service on May 20.

The report contains HDI’s site-specific decommissioning cost estimate for Palisades, which estimates that the cost to decommission the site, manage the spent nuclear fuel until it can be transferred to the Department of Energy, and restore the impacted area of the site to be $644 million in 2020 dollars. Palisades’ decommissioning trust fund contains adequate funding to complete the project and terminate the reactor’s license, according to the PSDAR.

According to the company’s decommissioning schedule, HDI intends to complete the transfer of the reactor’s spent fuel to dry storage by July 2025. The reactor will then be placed in safe storage with a dormancy period lasting until 2035. Major decontamination and dismantlement work will take place following the dormancy period, with HDI completing all decommissioning work and terminating the reactor license by 2041.

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