Holtec completes Oyster Creek purchase; Russia’s floating reactor licensed for operation
Our pick of the latest nuclear power news you need to know.
Holtec completes Oyster Creek purchase
Holtec International has completed the purchase of Oyster Creek, which shut down in September.
Holtec subsidiaries Oyster Creek Environmental Protection International LLC will serve as owner and Holtec Decommissioning International (HDI) will oversee decommissioning. Holtec purchased the plant for an undisclosed amount from Exelon.
"Our primary goal is to decommission Oyster Creek safely and with the community’s best interests in mind,” said Holtec President and CEO Kris Singh.
"Many of the excellent plant staff will join our exceptionally qualified engineers as we set a new bar in decommissioning excellence."
More than 200 Oyster Creek employees are staying on to begin the decommissioning work.
OCEP and HDI will be responsible for decommissioning the plant and conservatively managing the plant’s decommissioning trust fund (DTF), which will cover the cost of decommissioning. OCEP formally takes ownership of the site, real property and used nuclear fuel. Part of decommissioning is moving the spent nuclear fuel to an onsite Independent Spent Fuel Storage Installation (ISFSI), which used to take five or more years after reactor shutdown. Holtec has dry storage systems that allow the transfer to be done in 2.5 years.
Holtec hopes to complete the decommissioning of the 636 MW Oyster Creek plant, in New Jersey, within 10 years. The purchase of Oyster Creek means HDI is decommissioning six reactors across four sites.
The acquisition of Pilgrim, a plant similar to Oyster Creek in Massachusetts, is subject to regulatory approval, and is expected to occur in the next few weeks.
Russia’s floating nuclear power plant licensed for operation
The world’s first floating nuclear power plant, built by Russia, has received a license for operation. The Akademik Lomonosov, owned by state-controlled nuclear energy firm Rosatom, will provide energy to remote regions in the Arctic. The floating nuclear power unit's (FPU) twin reactors were brought up to 100% capacity on 31 March.
The plant has two modified KLT-40 naval propulsion reactors together providing up to 70 MW of electricity or 300 MW of heat.
At the end of August the vessel will be towed to Pevek, a port city on the Arctic coast – making it the northernmost operating nuclear plant.
Energy supply is due to begin in December, when two onshore power stations will be phased out and Akademik Lomonosov will be connected to the power grid. Rosatom says the FPU can generate enough power for a town of 100,000 people.
Delivering nuclear energy solutions to harsh and off-grid environments is seen as a key potential market for small modular reactors (SMRs).
DOE funds 58 nuclear technology projects
The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) has awarded $49.3 million for 58 nuclear technology projects.
The awards fall under DOE’s nuclear energy programs including the Nuclear Energy University Program (NEUP) and the Nuclear Science User Facilities (NSUF) program. The funds will go towards nuclear energy research, facility access, crosscutting technology development, and infrastructure projects.
“DOE is looking to the future, and that’s why we are investing in advanced nuclear technologies. Nuclear energy is a critical part of our all-of-the-above energy strategy, and early-stage research can help ensure it will continue to be a clean, reliable, and resilient source of electricity for a long time to come,” said Ed McGinnis, principal deputy assistant secretary for nuclear energy at DOE.
Nuclear Energy Insider