Entergy divests Pilgrim nuclear power station to Holtec subsidiary

Umesh Ellichipuram and Jack Unwin 27 August 2019 (Last Updated August 27th, 2019 14:19)

US-based energy company Entergy sells the Pilgrim nuclear power station to two subsidiaries of Holtec International.

Entergy divests Pilgrim nuclear power station to Holtec subsidiary
Pilgrim power station supplied electricity for nearly half a century. Credit: Entergy Corporation.

US-based energy company Entergy has sold the Pilgrim nuclear power station to two subsidiaries of Holtec International. Financial details of the deal have not been disclosed by the companies.

Holtec Pilgrim LLC will become the owner of the plant while Holtec Decommissioning International LLC will be the licence holder and decommissioning operator for the plant. The licence transfer was confirmed by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) on 23 August.

With the completion of the deal, Holtec subsidiary now plans to complete decommissioning works at the nuclear power station.

Pilgrim nuclear power station has a capacity of 680MW and is located in the US state of Massachusetts. Having been in operation since 1972, it was announced by Entergy in October 2015 that the plant would cease operations in 2019 due to “poor market conditions, reduced revenues and higher operational costs”. Entergy permanently shut the operations at the plant in May 2019.

Holtec International president and CEO Dr Kris Singh said: “Protecting public health, safety, and the environment is the foundation upon which all Pilgrim decommissioning work will occur.

“We are committed to engaging with stakeholders at the local and state levels to ensure a smooth flow of information throughout the decommissioning process.

“The cutting-edge technologies we use will ensure maximum safety for our employees and communities and enable the site to be decommissioned decades sooner than if Pilgrim had remained under Entergy’s ownership.”

The NRC found that Holtec had all the required technical and financial qualifications to own and decommission the Pilgrim Nuclear Power Station safely.

Holtec state that the decommissioning will eventually allow for the site to be fit for commercial or industrial use. This will be the company’s second decommissioning project, as it is also working on the Oyster Creek nuclear plant in New Jersey, which it bought from Exelon in August 2018.

Entergy chairman and CEO Leo Denault said: “The successful Pilgrim transaction demonstrates continued progress on Entergy’s exit from merchant power markets.

“With our previously-announced signed agreements for the post-shutdown sales of Indian Point and Palisades nuclear power plants in 2021 and 2022, respectively, we remain on track to accomplish our exit plan.”

As a result of the deal, Entergy’s share price rose from $109.84 to $111.54, a rise of 1.6%. The company’s share price has risen steadily throughout the year, having started 2019 at $84 a share.

Entergy’s share price in 2019.

This is not the first decommissioned nuclear power plant that Entergy has sold this year, having sold Vermont Yankee nuclear power plant to NorthStar Group Services in January 2019.