EnergySolutions has announced plans for Exelon Nuclear to transfer Zion Station licences to the firm to begin the accelerated decommissioning of the Zion Station in Utah, US.

The Zion Station nuclear plant with two reactors was permanently shut down in January 1998 after more than 20 years of operation.

The official transfer is expected to take place in September 2010, conditionally approved by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) in 2008.

The licence programme is a first-of-its-kind approach to accelerating the decommissioning of nuclear power plants.

EnergySolutions will acquire the Zion Station assets, and process and dispose of all Zion low-level radioactive waste at its Clive Utah facility.

The firm will also place the spent nuclear fuel in NRC-approved dry-cask storage containers on site.

The programme aims to safely accelerate the clean-up at least 12 years ahead of schedule to allow the land to be restored for reuse sooner than originally planned.