EnergySolutions and JAPC to collaborate on decommissioning

22 April 2016

US EnergySolutions has signed a collaborative agreement with the Japan Atomic Power Company (JAPC) for the decommissioning commercial light water NPPs in Japan. In announcing this agreement on 21 April, Ken Robuck, President of EnergySolutions' Disposal and Decommissioning Business noted, "This is a tremendous opportunity for our company to provide our Decommissioning and Decontamination (D&D) experience and capabilities in Japan.

EnergySolutions will share its D&D experience and capabilities with JAPC for use at unit 1 of its Tsuruga NPP, and JAPC personnel will participate in the D&D project currently underway at the Zion NPP north of Chicago, managed by EnergySolutions. Subsequently, EnergySolutions employees will join the JAPC Tsuruga 1 project team in Japan to support effective knowledge transfer and implementation of the EnergySolutions D&D experience.

"This is a significant step in applying our decommissioning experience to support a growing international nuclear decommissioning market," stated David Lockwood, CEO of EnergySolutions.

Tsuruga 1, a 341MWe boiling water reactor that started up in 1970, is one of Japan's oldest nuclear reactors. JAPC announced in March 2015 that would be decommissioned. It noted that while it would have been technically feasible to bring Tsuruga 1 up to the standards required, the size of the project and the degree of capital investment had led to the decommissioning decision.

JAPC submitted its decommissioning plan to the Nuclear Regulation Authority in February and expects the work to take 24 years. The decommissioning will be carried out in three stages: the first nine years will involve preparing the reactor for dismantling (including the removal of all fuel); during the next nine years the reactor and other major equipment will be dismantled; and the final six years will involve demolition of the reactor building.

JAPC expects the decommissioning to generate some 20,600t of solid waste including about 40t of high-level waste, 1,990t of intermediate-level waste and 10,760t of low-level waste. JAPC has been decommissioning Tokai unit 1 since December 2001. The 166 MWe gas-cooled reactor - which operated between 1966 and 1998 - was Japan's first commercial power reactor.

EnergySolutions began the ten-year process of dismantling the Zion plant in Illinois in September 2010. EnergySolutions will eventually transfer parts of the plant to its property in Utah. The PWRs at Zion were shut down in January 1998 after Commonwealth Edison, owner of the plant at the time, concluded that continued operation was not financially feasible.

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