NRC reviews license termination for retired Zion nuclear plant

The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission will be taking comment until May 26 on a License Termination Plan for the two units at the Zion nuclear plant in Illinois that were shut in the 1990s.

In December 2014, the NRC received from Zion Solutions LLC (ZS) a License Termination Plan (LTP) for the Zion Nuclear Power Station (ZNPS) Units 1 and 2. The LTP provides details about the known radiological information for the site, the planned demolition and decommissioning tasks to be completed, and the final radiological surveys and data that will need to be obtained to allow termination of the NRC’s license for ZNPS, said the commission in a notice to be published in the April 6 Federal Register.

In 1996, ZNPS Unit 2 was permanently shut-down after approximately 23 years of operation. In 1997, ZNPS Unit 1 was permanently shut-down after approximately 24 years of operation. In early 1998, Exelon Generating Co. LLC notified the NRC of the permanent cessation of operations at the ZNPS and the permanent removal of all spent fuel assemblies from the reactor vessels to the spent fuel pool.

In 2000, Exelon submitted a Post-Shutdown Decommissioning Activities Report (PSDAR) for the Zion units. The PSDAR was updated in 2008. In 2010, the NRC transferred Facility Operating License Numbers DPR-39 and DPR-48 from Exelon to ZS. Zion Solutions acquired ZNPS to conduct the decommissioning of the facility and then return the decommissioned site back to Exelon. The spent fuel has been moved from the spent fuel pool to the Independent Spent Fuel Storage Installation. Decommissioning of ZNPS is scheduled to be completed in 2018.

The NRC will conduct a public meeting to discuss the LTP and receive comments on April 28 at the Illinois Beach Resort & Conference Center, 1 Lake Front Drive, Zion, Ill.

Said the Exelon website about Zion: “After more than 20 years of operation, Zion’s two reactors were permanently shut down on January 15, 1998. Commonwealth Edison, owner of the plant at the time, concluded that the continued operation of Zion Station was not financially feasible and the plant was removed from service. The site is approximately 50 miles north of Chicago and 42 miles south of Milwaukee. The used nuclear fuel was placed in the plant’s onsite spent fuel pool and remains there today in safe and controlled storage.”

The website added: “The decommissioning of Zion Station began Sept. 1, 2010. The $1 billion, 10-year project will be the largest commercial nuclear plant dismantling ever undertaken in the United States, requiring an average of 200 skilled workers each year, most of them local, and a peak workforce of 400.”

About Barry Cassell 20414 Articles
Barry Cassell is Chief Analyst for GenerationHub covering coal and emission controls issues, projects and policy. He has covered the coal and power generation industry for more than 24 years, beginning in November 2011 at GenerationHub and prior to that as editor of SNL Energy’s Coal Report. He was formerly with Coal Outlook for 15 years as the publication’s editor and contributing writer, and prior to that he was editor of Coal & Synfuels Technology and associate editor of The Energy Report. He has a bachelor’s degree from Central Michigan University.