License for retired reactor transferred from Dairyland to cleanup firm

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) has agreed to transfer the license for the La Crosse nuclear plant in Wisconsin, which was shut down in 1987, from Dairyland Power Cooperative to a subsidiary of EnergySolutions LLC.

NRC said in a May 24 news release that the license for the 50-MW La Crosse boiling water reactor (BWR), located in Genoa, Wis., to LaCrosseSolutions LLC. EnergySolutions and its subsidiary are specialists in radioactive waste disposal.

The plant is located on the east bank of the Mississippi River in Vernon County, Wisconsin, according to an NRC website. The plant was one of a series of demonstration plants funded, in part, by the U.S Atomic Energy Commission (AEC).

When the nuclear plant was retired in 1987, the NRC at that time modified the original operating license to a possession-only license for the purpose of storage of nuclear materials and waste and decommissioning activities.

The license transfer would allow LaCrosseSolutions to expedite decommissioning activities on the site.

Under the terms of the transfer, Dairyland will remain the owner of the site and retain title to and responsibility for the spent nuclear fuel, currently stored in dry casks on the site. LaCrosseSolutions will lease the above-ground structures (other than the spent fuel storage site) and assume responsibility for decommissioning under NRC requirements.

EnergySolutions entered into a similar arrangement to decommission the shuttered Zion nuclear plant in Illinois in 2010.

Dairyland Power will retain financial responsibility for operation, maintenance, and security of the independent dry cask spent fuel installation and other related costs.

About Wayne Barber 4201 Articles
Wayne Barber, Chief Analyst for the GenerationHub, has been covering power generation, energy and natural resources issues at national publications for more than 20 years. Prior to joining PennWell he was editor of Generation Markets Week at SNL Financial for nine years. He has also worked as a business journalist at both McGraw-Hill and Financial Times Energy. Wayne also worked as a newspaper reporter for several years. During his career has visited nuclear reactors and coal mines as well as coal and natural gas power plants. Wayne can be reached at wayneb@pennwell.com.