Dairyland Power Cooperative (DPC) has transferred control of its 50 MW La Crosse boiling water reactor (LACBWR) to EnergySolutions to complete decommissioning by 2020 and focus its resources on energy supply.
While a surge in U.S. plant closures has led to calls for changes to exemption regulations for post-shutdown operations, DPC is moving ahead with the decommissioning of its LACBWR plant to optimize costs and accelerate the removal of radiological risks.
The Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) approved June 1 the license transfer of LACBWR to LaCrosseSolutions, a subsidiary of ES. The license termination plan was submitted to the NRC on June 27 and NRC expects to give its approval by late 2017.
Dairyland Power Cooperative (DPC) had planned to complete decommissioning of LACBWR by end 2025, excluding the Independent Spent Fuel Storage Installation (ISFSI), but that timeframe was shortened by five years by handing over the license to EnergySolutions (ES). The transfer allowed DPC to focus on its operational energy portfolio.
DPC shut down LACBWR in April 1987 after 20 years of operations, placing it in safe storage (SAFSTOR) and obtaining a Possession-Only License (POL) from the NRC in August the same year.
In September 2012, the used nuclear fuel was transferred to an ISFSI at a standalone facility at the south end of the power plant site. The spent fuel assemblies from the reactor are stored in five dry casks within the ISFSI.
Speaking to Nuclear Energy Insider, Cheryl Olson, ISFSI Manager at DPC, said other utilities transitioning from operations to decommissioning could learn from decommissioning work already completed at LACBWR.
“Although there are nuances to each facility, it is largely the same process,” she said.
Dismantling activities have been taking place at the site since 1996 and while DPC has gained experience in early stage decommissioning work including transfer of spent fuel to the ISFSI, it has chosen to focus on its core business of energy supply, Olson said.
Transferring decommissioning work to ES would propel the project “to the finish line,” she said.
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