NRC approves Oyster Creek transfer; FirstEnergy rescinds deactivation notices; Belgium broke UE law with reactors

Our pick of the latest nuclear power news you need to know.

NRC approves Oyster Creek license transfer to Holtec

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) has approved the transfer of the Oyster Creek Generating Station operating license from Exelon Generation to Holtec International.
Exelon Generation and Holtec will now formally complete the transaction. Holtec will assume ownership of the site, real property and used nuclear fuel. Holtec will also assume responsibility to manage the plant’s decommissioning trust fund (DTF).
As the NRC license holder, Holtec will be responsible for the decontamination and decommissioning of the plant.
In addition to Oyster Creek, Holtec previously announced agreements to purchase from Entergy the Indian Point, Palisades and Pilgrim nuclear units, including the independent spent fuel storage facility located at Big Rock Point. The closing of the sale of Pilgrim, a plant design similar to that of Oyster Creek, in Massachusetts, is expected to occur in Q3 this year.
“Decommissioning both Pilgrim and Oyster Creek will yield excellent operational synergies, enabling us to adopt best practices and methodologies to maximize safety and efficiency at both sites,” said Holtec Senior Vice President and Chief Strategy Officer, Joy Russell.

FirstEnergy reverses deactivation notice on two U.S. power plants

FirstEnergy Solutions Corp has rescinded deactivation notices on two nuclear power plants in Ohio following the state’s passage into law of a bill providing clean energy credits to zero-emissions producers.
FirstEnergy gave notice that Davis-Besse would be deactivated in 2020 and Perry in 2021 back in March 2018.
The U.S. NRC, as well as the Institute of Nuclear Power Operations and the Nuclear Energy Institute, have also been informed of the decision.
The bill creating the Ohio Clean Air Program was signed into law on 23 July by Governor Mike DeWine.
Moves are now underway for refuelling at Davis-Besse in early 2020, said FirstEnergy. It entered commercial operation in 1978 and is licensed to April 2027. Perry entered operation in 1987 and is licensed to 2037.

EDF faces further delays on Flamanville flagship

French energy firm EDF has announced a further delay of three years on its flagship Flamanville nuclear power plant. Originally due to begin operations in 2012, the plant will now not be commissioned before the end of 2022 due to problems with welding highlighted by the French Nuclear Safety Authority (ASN).
“The time that we will need to prepare the repairs, carry out the repairs and get everything checked by the ASN and then have the whole plant tested again and prepared to be launched… that will lead to delays of more than three years,” said EDF Chief Executive Jean-Bernard Levy. “So we don’t think it’s possible to commission it before the end of 2022.”
Flamanville is one of three next generation European Pressurized Reactor projects being built in Europe by EDF, which also include Olkiluoto in Finland (which is 10 years overdue) and Hinkley Point in the UK (which is facing soaring costs).

Belgium cleared to continue reactor operation despite breaking EU law

Belgium can continue to operate two ageing nuclear reactors despite breaking EU law by not carrying out environmental audits.
The European Court of Justice (ECJ) made the ruling on the Doel 1 and 2 reactors near the city of Antwerp. Failing to carry out the required environmental checks before prolonging the life of the reactors infringed EU law, the court said.
However, the reactors could stay open “where there is a genuine and serious threat of an interruption to electricity supply” said the ECJ.
More than half of Belgium’s electricity comes from nuclear power, but a 2003 law states the last reactor must be shut down by 1 December 2025.

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