Release of La Crosse and Zion sites for unrestricted use delayed until 2022

September 13, 2021, 7:00AMRadwaste Solutions
The La Crosse site in 2019 with major decommissioning completed. The coal-fired Genoa plant is in the background. (Photo: EnergySolutions)

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission has extended its orders transferring the licenses for the La Crosse and Zion nuclear power plants from EnergySolutions back to the plant owners until late 2022. This is the third time the NRC has extended the effectiveness of the license transfer orders for the decommissioned plants since approving them in 2019.

Pamela Cowan: The Fleet Approach to D&D

September 10, 2021, 2:23PMRadwaste Solutions

Pamela Cowen

Having spent more than 25 years in the commercial nuclear power community, Pam Cowan has spent time in both the front- and back-end operations of nuclear power. It is this experience that she draws upon as the senior vice president and chief operating officer of Holtec Decommissioning International (HDI) to help her build a growing fleet of power plants undergoing decommissioning and demolition.

Cowan, who came to HDI from the Nuclear Energy Institute, is also senior vice president of decommissioning and regulatory affairs for HDI parent company Holtec International and president of the Nuclear Asset Management Company, the owner of the plants. Cowan also serves as a member of the board of directors of Comprehensive Decommissioning International, a decommissioning general contractor, jointly owned by Holtec and SNC-Lavalin.

Radwaste Solutions spoke to Cowan about Holtec’s fleet approach to decommissioning and her plans for HDI.

(Editor's note: Soon after this article was published in Radwaste Solutions, Westinghouse Electric Company announced that Pam Cowan had been appointed president of the company's Americas operating plant services unit. Cowan takes over the business on September 21, following the retirement of current president, David Howell.)

NorthStar allowed to intervene in sale of Kewaunee

September 8, 2021, 3:04PMRadwaste Solutions
NorthStar is challenging the sale of Kewaunee to EnergySolutions. (Photo: Dominion Generation)

NorthStar Group Services is being allowed to intervene in Wisconsin’s regulatory review of the sale of the Kewaunee nuclear power plant by Dominion Energy to EnergySolutions for decommissioning. An administrative law judge granted NorthStar permission on September 7 to participate in the Public Service Commission of Wisconsin’s review of the transaction.

Dangerous San Onofre dismantling job completed safely

September 7, 2021, 12:00PMRadwaste Solutions
A graphic representation of the tendons encircling the San Onofre containment domes. (Image: SCE)

A nearly yearlong effort to de-tension and remove more than 400 steel cables, known as tendons, from the two containment domes of the San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station (SONGS) was recently completed, with only one minor first aid incident recorded, according to Southern California Edison.

Westinghouse signs agreement to dismantle Ringhals-1 and -2 components

August 23, 2021, 7:01AMRadwaste Solutions
Vattenfall’s Christopher Eckerberg (left) and Aziz Dag of Westinghouse Electric Sweden AB sign the agreement for decommissioning of large radioactive components at Sweden’s Ringhals-1 and -2. (Photo: Vattenfall/John Guthed)

Westinghouse will segment and dispose of the reactor internals and pressure vessels at Sweden’s Ringhals-1 and Ringhals-2 under a deal announced last week with plant owner Vattenfall. Unit 2, a pressurized water reactor, and Unit 1, a boiling water reactor, were shut down in 2019 and 2020, respectively, after operating for more than 40 years.

Virtual reality in the nuclear community

August 17, 2021, 6:59AMANS Nuclear CafePayal Gupta

DISCLAIMER: The views expressed in posted articles do not necessarily reflect the views of the American Nuclear Society. The views expressed here are those of the individual authors. ANS takes no ownership of their views. The American Nuclear Society assumes no responsibility or liability for any use or operation of any methods, products, instructions, or ideas contained on this site.

The nuclear industry is rapidly embracing virtual reality (VR) technology to optimize operations and improve safety. VR companies build an interactive 3D virtually realistic environment where teams can be trained without compromising safety.

NRC to hold a second meeting on Indian Point decommissioning plan

August 11, 2021, 12:09PMRadwaste Solutions

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission is holding a virtual meeting on August 18 to discuss and receive comments regarding Holtec International’s decommissioning plan for the Indian Point nuclear power plant in New York. A hybrid meeting was held on July 29 in Tarrytown, N.Y., with a phone line available for those who opted not to attend in person. However, local storms and technical issues resulted in remote participants experiencing audio problems.

Decommissioning of Fort Greely reactor to begin in 2022

July 2, 2021, 7:05AMRadwaste Solutions
Col. John Litz, of the USACE Baltimore District, examines the containment vessel door of the SM-1A deactivated nuclear power plant during a site visit in April 2019.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is set to begin decommissioning SM-1A, the mothballed nuclear power reactor at Fort Greely, in Alaska, beginning next year, a project that is expected to take approximately six years. The USACE said it expects to release a request for proposals soliciting contractor bids for the decommissioning and dismantlement project by late summer.

NRC rejects challenges to TMI-2 license transfer, ISP’s license application

June 24, 2021, 12:00PMRadwaste Solutions

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission has dismissed a challenge to the previously approved transfer of the license for the shuttered Three Mile Island-2 power reactor from FirstEnergy to a subsidiary of EnergySolutions for decommissioning. The order by the NRC commissioners denying the motion by Three Mile Island Alert to hold the license transfer in abeyance was issued on June 22.

IAEA issues report on Japan’s decommissioning program for R&D facilities

June 24, 2021, 9:29AMRadwaste Solutions

Noting the challenges Japan will face in managing the nuclear waste that will be generated from decommissioning 79 of its nuclear research and development facilities, the International Atomic Energy Agency is recommending that the country prepare for delays in the development of disposal facilities and provide appropriate waste storage capacity for the interim period.

The recommendation was one of several that a team of IAEA experts provided to the Japan Atomic Energy Agency after reviewing the agency’s 70-year decommissioning program, called the “Back-End Roadmap,” and contained in the report, ARTEMIS Review of JAEA Back-End Roadmap, which was released on June 22,

NEA argues for circular approach to funding back end of nuclear fuel cycle

June 22, 2021, 7:00AMRadwaste Solutions

A report by the OECD Nuclear Energy Agency proposes a new approach to assessing the financial adequacy for undertaking nuclear decontamination and decommissioning projects and high-level radioactive waste management.

With the world’s aging nuclear power reactors approaching the end of their planned operational lifetimes, the adequacy of funding for decommissioning and waste management increasingly commands the attention of decision makers, the NEA said.

Navy nuclear refueling barge to be dismantled

June 4, 2021, 7:01AMANS Nuclear Cafe
A U.S. Navy Surface Ship Support Barge (the large vessel in photo), which is used to refuel nuclear-powered ships and dismantle spent fuel units, will be scrapped in a three-year process. (Photo:

Towed from its home in Newport News, Va., the U.S. Navy’s Surface Ship Support Barge has arrived in Mobile, Ala., for decommissioning, Advance Local Alabama reported on June 1. The 268-foot-long barge operated from 1964 to 2016, supporting the Navy's nuclear vessel refueling and functioning like a spent fuel pool at a commercial nuclear power plant.

Entergy completes transfer of Indian Point to Holtec for decommissioning

June 2, 2021, 9:30AMRadwaste Solutions
The new sign at the Indian Point Energy Center. (Photo: Holtec)

The transfer of the Indian Point nuclear power plant from Entergy to Holtec International and its subsidiaries was completed last week. Under the asset transfer deal, Holtec Indian Point becomes owner of the closed plant, with Holtec Decommissioning International serving as the site’s license holder and decommissioning operator.

Canadian nuclear leaders to collaborate on CANDU decommissioning

May 14, 2021, 9:29AMRadwaste Solutions
Canada’s pickering nuclear power plant. (photo: opg)

A collaboration agreement signed by Ontario Power Generation’s Center for Canadian Nuclear Sustainability, Canadian Nuclear Laboratories, and SNC-Lavalin will build on Ontario’s extensive nuclear industry expertise and skilled workforce to support the decommissioning of CANDU reactors in Canada and around the world, according to a May 13 press release from the organizations. The work will include the decommissioning of OPG’s Pickering nuclear power plant following the end of commercial operations in 2025.

Can plant closures be an industry engagement opportunity?

May 14, 2021, 9:04AMNuclear NewsJim A. Hamilton
New York’s Indian Point-3 was scheduled to close in April 2021.

At present, more than 20 commercial nuclear power plants in the United States have entered the decommissioning process, and many indicators point to a coming wave of additional plant closures. Indeed, with increasing numbers of plants terminating operations due to unfavorable market conditions, some voices have deemed this the “age of decommissioning.”

Regardless of whether a plant shuts its doors earlier than antici­pated or seeks a life extension through relicensing, all plants eventually close. When they do, the closure sets off a wave of economic impacts ranging from minor disruptions to severe and long-lasting harm.

EnergySolutions tapped to decommission Kewaunee power plant

May 12, 2021, 3:03PMRadwaste Solutions
EnergySolutions will acquire Kewaunee for decommissioning. Photo: Dominion Generation

Utah-based EnergySolutions has entered into a definitive agreement with Dominion Energy to acquire the closed Kewaunee nuclear power plant for prompt decommissioning. Located about 30 miles southeast of Green Bay, Wis., the single-unit, 574-MWe pressurized water reactor was shut down in May 2013 for financial reasons.

NorthStar to ship Vermont Yankee’s low-activity wastewater to Idaho

May 10, 2021, 9:30AMRadwaste Solutions
The closed Vermont Yankee power plant is currently undergoing decommissioning. (Photo: Entergy)

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission is set to allow about 2 million gallons of low-level radioactive wastewater from the Vermont Yankee nuclear power plant, currently undergoing decommissioning, to be disposed of at an Idaho waste facility. As published in the May 7 Federal Register, the NRC has issued an environmental assessment and finding of no significant impact for a request by NorthStar Nuclear Decommissioning to dispose of the wastewater at US Ecology Idaho’s waste facility near Grand View.

The consequences of closure: The local cost of shutting down a nuclear power plant

May 7, 2021, 3:01PMNuclear NewsTim Gregoire

When on May 7, 2013, the Kewaunee nuclear power plant in rural Wisconsin was shut down, it took with it more than 600 full-time jobs and more than $70 million in lost wages, not including temporary employment from refueling and maintenance outages. Taking into account indirect business-to-business activity, the total economic impact of the closure of the single-unit pressurized water reactor was estimated to be more than $630 million to the surrounding three-county area.

N.Y. drops its objections to sale of Indian Point in deal with Holtec

April 19, 2021, 3:00PMRadwaste Solutions
Indian Point nuclear power plant in Buchanan, N.Y.

The State of New York will withdraw its lawsuit against the transfer of Indian Point’s license to Holtec International for decommissioning under a provisional agreement signed on April 14. In exchange, Holtec has agreed to maintain a minimum of $400 million in Indian Point’s decommissioning trust fund for the next 10 years.