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Unanswered qestions about the decommissioning of Pilgrim Nuclear Plant

With Pilgrim Nuclear Plant Set To Retire, There Are Questions About Decommissioning Trust Fund WBUR,March 27, 2019, Miriam Wasser
As Plymouth’s Pilgrim Nuclear Power Station prepares to shut down for good, questions are emerging about its nuclear decommissioning trust fund. This is money set aside for “decommissioning” the plant — removing the spent fuel and making the land safe for eventual unrestricted use.The trust fund is like a 401(k) for retired nuclear plants; ratepayers contribute money into a conservatively managed account that accrues interest over time. Pilgrim’s fund was worth about $1.05 billion in October 2018. It cannot be accessed until the plant permanently shuts down.

The big questions about the trust fund: What can plant owners spend the money on? And will there be enough to cover the cost of decommissioning?

Surprisingly, the federal Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) has no specific regulations on how plant owners can spend trust fund money, only guidelines.

Also surprising: A plant owner also needs an exemption from the NRC to use the money for “spent fuel management” and “site restoration” — the bulk of the decommissioning work — but not for paying the host community what essentially amounts to property taxes.

This all came to light at recent public meetings in Plymouth about Pilgrim, which is supposed to shut down by June 1. The state-appointed Nuclear Decommissioning Citizens Advisory Panel (NDCAP) questioned a representative of Holtec International, the New Jersey-based company that wants to buy Pilgrim from its current owners, Entergy Nuclear Operators, about the company’s finances. …….

Everybody who’s a resident of Plymouth, including all of our town meeting members, should understand that the intention of both Entergy and Holtec is to take ratepayer money to pay their taxes,” said NDCAP Chairman Sean Mullin. ……. https://www.wbur.org/earthwhile/2019/03/27/pilgrim-decommissioning-trust-fund-pilot-taxes-plymouth

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March 30, 2019 - Posted by | decommission reactor, USA

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