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US utility FirstEnergy and EnergySolutions on 15 October signed an agreement whereby all licences and assets of unit 2 of the Three Mile Island NPP in Pennsylvania will be transferred to a subsidiary of EnergySolutions. The reactor, which suffered a partial meltdown in 1979 and was never restarted, will then be decommissioned. The contract was signed between EnergySolutions and FirstEnergy subsidiaries GPU Nuclear Inc, Metropolitan Edison Company, Jersey Central Power & Light Company, and Pennsylvania Electric Company. EnergySolutions subsidiary TMI-2 Solutions will take over the plant, property, nuclear decommissioning trust fund, plant licences and responsibility for decommissioning Three Mile Island 2 (TMI-2). The agreement also facilitates applications to the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission and the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities for approval of the transfer, followed by decommissioning of TMI-2. The transaction is expected to close during the second half of 2020 once the required approvals are in place.

"Transfer of TMI-2 removes any future nuclear decommissioning obligations from FirstEnergy and is consistent with our strategy of focusing on regulated utility operations," said Greg Halnon, GPU Nuclear president and chief nuclear operator. "EnergySolutions will complete the final remediation to transition TMI-2 from a safe and stable storage condition to a fully decommissioned facility." The unit has remained in a safe and stable storage condition for the past 26 years. Some 99% of the nuclear fuel was removed from TMI-2, packaged and transported to a storage facility at the Idaho National Laboratory in the early 1980s.

EnergySolutions and New Jersey-based construction company Jingoli have formed a joint venture, ES/Jingoli Decommissioning, to undertake the decommissioning work at TMI-2. EnergySolutions said Jingoli has managed and executed nuclear projects on behalf of numerous utilities in the USA and Canada. The company has experience in the nuclear field from pre-construction, construction management, project controls and decommissioning.

EnergySolutions President and CEO Ken Robuck noted: "We currently have four decommissioning projects, two of which will be completed in the next six months. Every project has provided valuable experience with best practices and lessons learned that we will incorporate into this project to safely decommission the facility." EnergySolutions is currently working on decommissioning projects at the Zion NPP in Illinois and the La Crosse plant in Wisconsin - both expected to be completed in early 2020. The company is also decommissioning the San Onofre plant in California and the Fort Calhoun plant in Nebraska. In May EnergySolutions completed decommissioning of the Southwest Experimental Fast Oxide Reactor (SEFOR) in Arkansas.

In September, TMI unit 1 was shut down for economic reasons after over 45 years of generation. The 819 MWe (net) pressurised water reactor began commercial operation in September 1974 and was licensed to operate until 2034. Owner Exelon Generation has selected the SAFSTOR deferred dismantling option for the unit.

Date: Thursday, 24 October 2019
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