Areva Nuclear Materials (ANM) announced on 11 July that it had signed a contract with US decommissioning and remediation company NorthStar to segment, package and transport to offsite disposal the reactor pressure vessel (RPV) and internal reactor components of the US Vermont Yankee nuclear power plant. ANM is part of the France-based global New Areva company with multiple sites across the USA.
The contract formalises ANM’s support to NorthStar’s plan, announced last November, to acquire Entergy Nuclear Vermont Yankee (ENVY) and to accelerate decommissioning and site restoration of Vermont Yankee by decades, subject to receipt of the necessary regulatory approvals. The 620MWe Vermont Yankee boiling water reactor began commercial operation in 1972 and was permanently shut down in December 2014.
ANM’s trained teams will use a range of remotely operated underwater tools specifically designed for nuclear decommissioning to dismantle the RPV. The RPV segments will be moved underwater and packaged in shielded radioactive waste canisters in the reactor pool. The canisters will then be lifted from the pool, cleared of all internal water and moisture, externally decontaminated, sealed inside shielded transport casks, and then transported for secure disposal at the Waste Control Specialists (WCS) facility in Texas.
Sam Shakir, ANM president and CEO, said: “In addition to contracting for this Vermont Yankee work, we are excited about the expanded partnership we are forging with NorthStar in the decommissioning market.”
In February, ANM and NorthStar announced the joint venture Accelerated Decommissioning Partners (ADP) to acquire and decommission shutdown nuclear reactor facilities and their used fuel. Now, ADP is moving to complete an agreement by the end of the year to acquire two US reactor sites following shutdown.