Staff from the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) issued a Notice of Significant Licensing Action on Tuesday, notifying NRC commissioners of their intent to approve the licence transfer and sale. The Commission has five business days to give its feedback before NRC staff issues their final decision.
After a year of review, the NRC staff concluded that Holtec is “financially and technically qualified to own the Pilgrim nuclear power plant and carry out the decommissioning of the facility”, an NRC spokesman said.
If Holtec buys Pilgrim from current owner Energy, Holtec will receive the plant, the surrounding land and a decommissioning trust fund currently valued around $1bn, reports in local media said.
Entergy has said the decision to permanently shut down Pilgrim-1 was the result of “a number of financial factors” including low wholesale energy prices.
The Pilgrim plant was shut down for the last time on 30 May.
Last year Entergy announced the proposed sale of the subsidiary that owns Pilgrim to a Holtec International subsidiary, a decommissioning specialty company that plans to complete decommissioning at the site decades sooner than if Entergy continued to own the plant.
Pilgrim-1 is a 677-MW boiling water reactor unit that began commercial operation in December 1972.