AREVA Nuclear Materials and New York-based NorthStar, a nuclear services company that focuses on decommissioning and demolition, said they had formed a new joint venture named Accelerated Decommissioning Partners (ADP) that would dismantle plants and manage spent fuel inventories.
ADP “is working with a U.S. power company to assess the decommissioning and dismantling of multiple nuclear reactor facilities scheduled for shutdown,” a joint statement says. That process is expected to come to a conclusion by the end of the year. It will involve “the negotiation of terms for the transfer of ownership of the sites and their used fuel inventory,” the statement said.
The plan is to purchase and decommission in the United States, where a few plant owners have announced plans to retire their nuclear power facilities.
Over the past five years, five different plants have closed, including Crystal River, Kewaunee and San Onofre in 2012 and 2013, followed by Vermont Yankee in 2014. In 2016, the Omaha Public Power District board voted to retire the Fort Calhoun plant in Nebraska that was the smallest commercial energy nuclear reactor in the country at 478 MW. (Despite its size, Fort Calhoun delivered the state with 26 percent of its electricity generation, above the national average for nuclear power.)
In addition, Exelon has said it would retire the Clinton plant and the Quad Cities plant in 2017 and 2018, respectively. Entergy has announced the impending closure of the Pilgrim plant in Massachusetts in 2018 and New York's Indian Point is slated to close in 2021. In addition, Pacific Gas and Electric has reached an agreement with various groups to retire its two Diablo Canyon reactors when their licenses expires in 2024 and 2025.
NorthStar is licensed in all 50 U.S. states. Together with AREVA, the company said the new venture aimed to “contain all required management, regulatory, technical and financial qualifications to decommission U.S. nuclear energy sites safety and in accordance with all NRC (Nuclear regulatory Commission) and state requirements.” The NRC is a federal agency.
“ADP offers the industry an innovative approach to accelerate decommissioning of shutdown nuclear power facilities through a complete and permanent transfer of ownership of the asset, including used nuclear fuel, from utility owners to an entity who is an expert in decommissioning and used fuel management,” said Sam Shakir, chief executive officer of AREVA Nuclear Materials.
“All together, the ADP team members represent the successful license termination and decommissioning of more than 10 NRC-licensed nuclear reactor and laboratory facilities, and have worked on more than 300 nuclear and power facility projects in the past 15 years,” said Scott State, P.E., chief executive officer of NorthStar.
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How can a company make money decommissioning a nuclear power plant? There is no generation output from the facility to earn income. Do they get to keep money left over in the decommissioning fund at the end if there is any?