The US Nuclear Regulatory Commission has approved the transfer of the Pilgrim nuclear power station licence from Entergy Nuclear Operations Inc to Holtec International and its subsidiary Holtec Decommissioning International (HDI).

After a year of review, the NRC staff concluded that Holtec is “financially and technically qualified to own the Pilgrim nuclear power plant and carry out the decommissioning of the facility”, an NRC spokesman said.

Holtec will receive the plant, the surrounding land and a decommissioning trust fund currently valued around $1bn, reports in local media said.

“Once the purchase is finalised, Holtec and HDI have announced plans to expedite decommissioning and dismantling of the plant,” the NRC said in a statement today. “The license transfer includes the dry cask spent fuel storage installation at Pilgrim.”

Entergy has said the decision to permanently shut down the single-unit Pilgrim station in Massachusetts was the result of “a number of financial factors” including low wholesale energy prices. Pilgrim was shut down for the last time on 30 May.

Earlier this week Massachusetts lawmakers and officials told the NRC that Entergy’s request to sell Pilgrim to Holtec needed to be fully vetted before any approvals were granted.

The Massachusetts senators and representatives said in a statement that they stood firmly behind a request by state governor Charles Baker and the state’s attorney-general to delay the NRC’s approval to transfer the Pilgrim licence to Holtec.

Date: Tuesday, 27 August 2019
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