NDCAP members introduced themselves, their affiliation, and how they were appointed. Much of the night was spent listening to a presentation by Entergy on plant status and an update on decommissioning plans. Panel members had the opportunity to pose questions to Entergy, then the floor was opened up to public questions and comments.

The role of the NDCAP was discussed. It is advisory only, with no direct authority over Entergy’s decommissioning. However, the duties of NDCAP is to hold quarterly meetings, follow the planning and progress of decommissioning, advise the Governor, General Court, Agencies of the Commonwealth, and the public. It must develop an annual report and act as a conduit of information to the public.

Entergy stated in its presentation that May 31, 2017 deadline for closure was a “no later than date,” and there are no plans to operate past that date. The company’s upcoming milestones are to:

  • Develop a Post-Shutdown Decommissioning Activities Report (PSDAR)
  • Develop a cost estimate for shutdown activities
  • Develop a spent fuel management plan
  • Eventually send a certification letter to the NRC once the reactor is permanently offline

There are currently 8 casks on the pad and Pilgrim will need 62 casks in total (requiring a 2nd pad — the location of the 2nd pad has not been determined). It’s unknown whether more fuel will be moved out of the pool prior to the 2019 closure date. Entergy will choose between the SAFSTOR and DECON options for decommissioning. The final decision has not been made, and it’s primarily a financial analysis that determines which method is chosen.

Pilgrim’s Decommissioning Trust Fund is currently $1 billion. Several questions from the panel and the public addressed this shortfall in funds (as one member of the public pointed out, VT Yankee required $1.2 billion and is a smaller plant). There was no clear answer for what would be done if there isn’t enough money in the Fund, other than delaying full decommissioning until enough funds were available.

One panel member asked Entergy about plans to sell Pilgrim to a third party company, such as is happening in VT (Entergy is selling its VT Yankee plant to NorthStar). The entity Entergy is considering for the sale of Pilgrim is called ‘Accelerated Decommissioning Partners’, which includes the companies NorthStar and AREVA. Entergy is in the exploratory process now. No definitive plans have been made to sell Pilgrim yet.

A panel member asked Entergy whether “unrestricted use” of the site is the objective (i.e., reducing the residual radioactivity on the site to below a certain threshold). Entergy stated that it is not sure yet, but will meet any state regulations. The NRC’s standard for unrestricted release of the site is 25 mrem, and the company stated it will at least meet that level.

The NDCAP plans to develop a website soon, as a source of information for the public. Former Senator Dan Wolf, a NDCAP member and one legislators behind the development of NDCAP, ended the meeting by stating that he hopes the NDCAP will focus on safety systems that are (or should be) in place for decommissioning moving forward.

No date was set for the 2nd meeting, nor was a permanent chairperson for the panel nominated.

Learn more about the Nuclear Decommissioning Citizens Advisory Panel →