SOUTHERN OCEAN COUNTY, NJ – The Lacey Planning Board’s denial of an application in conjunction with the decommissioning of the Oyster Creek Nuclear Plan last month raised some concerns. Local authorities and area residents wanted answers regarding who oversees the work done by Holtec International, the decommissioning company.
Lacey Township brought Holtec to court when they began doing work at the former plant without permits required by the local municipality. The most recent action pertained solely to expanding the number of spent fuel units.
Holtec went before the board in January and also said it planned to expand the spent fuel storage pad. Local officials were told that a third party reviewed named NCI agreed with them that there was no longer a need to add to the size of the storage pad.
The determination that NCI is actually a subsidiary of the decommissioning company led local authorities to question whether Holtec is conducting its own oversight.
“We have a decommissioning inspector who visits Oyster Creek on at least a quarterly basis,” shared Neil Sheehan, NRC Public Affairs. “We will also have an inspector on-site whenever there are significant activities taking place, such as the movement of spent nuclear fuel or the demolition of a nuclear-related structure. In addition, we periodically inspect security at the facility.”
Sheehan confirmed that the NRC is unaware of any plans for Oyster Creek to become a regional repository for spent nuclear fuel. Holtec has stated it only intends to store nuclear waste that was used at the local plant.
“Any such proposed change would be subject to thorough NRC review,” Sheehan shared. “We have no expectation at this point that Oyster Creek or other U.S. nuclear power plants are interested in pursuing such a storage arrangement.”
The Oyster Creek Decommissioning Trust Fund was transferred to Holtec when it assumed ownership of the plant. Ratepayers contributed to the fund over the life of the plant, which means no new money has been added.
Nuclear plant owners, such as Holtec, are required to report the status of its decommissioning funding for each reactor it owns. The company is obligated to submit a report at least every two years. The NRC can require Holtec to take action if it identifies any shortfalls.
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