Entergy pushes Pilgrim retirement out to 2019; refueling outage now needed

Entergy Corp. (NYSE: ETR) announced April 14 that it intends to refuel the Pilgrim Nuclear Power Station in Plymouth, Mass., next year, 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. He added: “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.”

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.

Planning for decommissioning will begin with the formation of a dedicated team 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.

Entergy added that it 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.

The Pilgrim Nuclear Power Station generates 680 MW and began generating electricity in 1972.

Entergy owns and operates power plants with approximately 30,000 MW of electric generating capacity, including nearly 10,000 MW of nuclear power.

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.