Entergy is planning to refuel the Pilgrim Nuclear Power Station in Plymouth, Massachusetts, next year to continue supplying power to New England, then cease operations on May 31, 2019.
The decision narrows the previously announced shutdown timeframe of 2017-2019.
"We’re pleased that we will be able to keep our team of hardworking, professional employees actively engaged in safe operations for the next three years and in a return to regular NRC and industry oversight," said John Dent, Pilgrim’s site vice president. "During this period, Pilgrim will continue safely to provide clean, emissions-free electricity to our neighbors.
"Another benefit of the three-year window before shutdown is that Pilgrim will continue to be a good neighbor, providing economic benefits and charitable donations. In just the past four years, Pilgrim has donated more than $1.5 million to local, regional and statewide non-profit organizations," Dent added.
The decision to remain in operation for another three years means that Pilgrim will conduct a refueling outage in the spring of 2017. Refueling outages, which the plant conducts every other year, result in significant positive economic impacts for the region. The 2015 refueling outage resulted in a $70 million investment in the plant, including $25 million in new equipment. Nearly 2,000 employees, including 1,184 extra contract workers, performed hundreds of activities. The enlarged workforce at Pilgrim increased the plant’s economic contributions to Plymouth and surrounding communities through the purchase of hotel rooms, meals and tourism activities.
Planning for decommissioning will begin with the formation of a dedicated team of individuals with both decommissioning and Pilgrim plant experience. This team will develop a Post-Shutdown Decommissioning Activities Report describing planned decommissioning activities, a schedule, cost estimate, and environmental impacts. That plan, due no later than two years after shutdown, is a public document sent to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission for review. Entergy will also create a Nuclear Decommissioning Citizen’s Advisory/Engagement Panel to share information and educate the public. More information on decommissioning can be found at www.pilgrimpower.com.
Entergy remains committed overall to nuclear power, whose benefits include carbon-free, reliable power that is cost- effective over the long term, contributes to supply diversity and energy security as part of a balanced energy portfolio and provides almost two-thirds of America’s clean-air electricity.