The US Nuclear Regulatory Commission has approved the transfer of the Oyster Creek nuclear power station licence from Exelon Generation to Oyster Creek Environmental Protection and Holtec Decommissioning International.
OCEP will become the new owner of the single-unit station and Holtec will be responsible for decommissioning.
The three companies asked for the licence transfer in August 2018 following an agreement to sell Oyster Creek to OCEP and Holtec.
The NRC said the order approving the licence transfer is effective immediately, but the licence transfer will not be finalised until the successful completion of the transaction between Exelon, OCEP and Holtec.
Oyster Creek was permanently shut down in September 2018. The 619-MW General Electric boiling water rector unit began commercial operation on 1 December 1969, making it the oldest commercially operated nuclear power plant in the US.
Oyster Creek was previously expected to retire on 31 December 2019, but its retirement was accelerated by more than a year to coincide with the plant’s fuel and maintenance cycle.
When Oyster Creek’s initial 40-year licence expired in 2009, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission granted the plant a 20-year licence renewal. However, in 2010 an agreement was reached between Oyster Creek’s owner-operator Exelon and New Jersey state environmental regulators to retire the plant in 2019.
Among the factors affecting this decision were local water safety concerns and estimated costs of more than $800m to install cooling towers to meet new environmental standards.