US Entergy Corporation on 27 May completed the sale of the subsidiaries that own the Indian Point Energy Centre (IPEC) to a Holtec International subsidiary, clearing the way for Holtec to take over the closed NPP and proceed with its decommissioning. Unit 3 at Indian Point was shut down on 30 April. After 45 years of operation. Unit 1 was shut down in 1974 and unit 2 in April 2020. The New York State Public Service Commission approved the transfer from Entergy to Holtec on 19 May. The Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) had given its approval earlier in 2021.
Holtec President and CEO Kris Singh said: “Protecting public health and safety and the environment is the foundation upon which the Indian Point decommissioning programme will be carried out. The cutting-edge technologies that we have employed at Pilgrim and Oyster Creek (nuclear plants) to ensure maximum worker and environmental safety and well-being of the local communities will be employed at Indian Point to secure the same excellent outcomes that we continue to achieve at other plants in our fleet.”
Under the asset transfer, the site’s ownership and operating licences were transferred to Holtec subsidiaries, with Holtec Indian Point serving as the owner and Holtec Decommissioning International (HDI) serving as the licence holder and decommissioning operator. Entergy has no residual interest in the site.
Over the past year, Holtec and IPEC personnel have been working on an integrated transition plan, which has laid the foundation for efficient execution of first steps in a systematic decommissioning of the site. These include moving the plant’s used nuclear fuel from its spent fuel pools to robust transportable canisters in a structurally impregnable dry storage system designed by Holtec, and dismantling and packaging the highly activated parts from the nuclear reactors in high capacity containers also engineered by Holtec, thereby removing virtually all of the radiation source from the plant’s containment enclosure.
Another critical early undertaking is to emplace the used fuel in each pool in an optimised wet storage configuration such that the plant’s fuel pools become independent of their cooling systems in the shortest possible time (after their shutdown) to maintain fuel integrity. Holtec’s proprietary pool optimisation technology is being employed to achieve this in less than eight months after shurdown.
Holtec said it also expects to maximise the safety aspects of the Indian Point site project by placing all the used nuclear fuel in the HI-STORM dry storage systems in less than 30 months after the plant’s shutdown, following the world record set recently at Holtec’s Oyster Creek decommissioning site. The Company has designed and manufactured transport packages for shipment of radioactive material to minimise the number of off-site shipments reducing transport traffic around the plant.
Completion of Indian Point’s decommissioning will render the 240-acre site fit for commercial/industrial use except for a small parcel of land where the dry storage casks will remain under rigorous security guarded by personnel from Holtec Security International (HSI). Holtec hopes to ship the multi-purpose canisters (MPCs) containing the used fuel to the Company’s proposed consolidated interim storage facility called HI-STORE CIS in southeast New Mexico that is undergoing licensing review by NRC. Comprehensive Decommissioning International (CDI), a Holtec/SNC Lavalin subsidiary, will serve as a general contractor to perform the decommissioning, demolition, and site clean-up services.