Pilgrim nuclear plant operators will move spent fuel into dry casks

BOSTON (SHNS) – Nuclear plant operators in Plymouth plan to begin moving spent fuel into dry cask storage, part of a new campaign that officials say is needed to maintain room in spent fuel pools, conduct refueling operations, and continue safely generating electricity for the region.

Entergy Corporation, which runs the Pilgrim Nuclear Power Station, said Friday that its plans had been approved and would be monitored by the federal Nuclear Regulatory Commission.

Plans call for three casks to be loaded at Pilgrim as part of a process that officials expect to be completed by the end of January.

According to plans, the casks will be kept within a “highly secure fenced in area in specialized containers placed on a concrete pad located 25 feet above sea level.”

Entergy said the casks are “tested under rigorous engineering and safety criteria” and are designed “to withstand a variety of extreme scenarios, ranging from tornadoes, accidents and severe weather, to earthquakes and terrorist attacks.”

Entergy called dry cask storage a “reliable and safe method for storing spent fuel using large, airtight steel and concrete canisters that provide structural strength and radiation shielding.”

According to Entergy, more than 500 dry casks are in use in the U.S. Loaded casks weigh 360,000 pounds and each cask is 18 feet tall and 11 feet wide.

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