Public Affairs Officer
Over the past few years, five reactors have permanently stopped operation earlier than anticipated and began the process of decommissioning. A sixth will soon be joining that list, it was announced yesterday. Entergy, owner of the Pilgrim nuclear power plant, announced its plan to stop operations at the Plymouth, Mass., facility no later than June 1, 2019. The nuclear plant in Oyster Creek previously announced it was shutting down in 2019.
Entergy has emphasized to the NRC its commitment to safe plant operations until Pilgrim’s control rods are inserted for the last time and the unit is shut down. The company has also told us it intends to get ready for and support NRC inspection activities associated with the plant’s recent transition to Column 4 of our Action Matrix.
The NRC will continue to conduct inspections and provide oversight consistent with that required of a plant in that status, with a team inspection expected sometime in 2016.
More broadly, the agency will keep close watch on Pilgrim’s performance through the end of its operational life. Additional information on the agency’s oversight activities at the plant are available on the NRC’s website.
There are more than a dozen units in some stage of decommissioning under NRC oversight. The NRC has traditionally used operating reactor regulations for plants undergoing decommissioning, which requires the plants to seek exemptions when the regulations for operating reactors are no longer relevant or appropriate.
While this approach is sound from a safety standpoint, the Commission has directed NRC staff to initiate a process for developing a reactor decommissioning rulemaking, with a final rule to be issued by early 2019. For information on decommissioning can be found on the NRC website.