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The owner of the state's only nuclear power plant plans to sell the Plymouth facility to another company to handle its decommissioning.
Entergy said Wednesday it's agreed to sell Pilgrim Nuclear Power Station to Holtec International once it stops operating the 46-year-old plant next year.
Entergy says the sale will ensure the plant is decommissioned more quickly than if it maintained ownership.
Assuming "timely regulatory approvals" by federal officials, Holtec says it expects to begin decommissioning Pilgrim in 2020, with the expectation the process will be completed in approximately eight years.
“Earlier decommissioning benefits the surrounding communities,” Entergy Chairman and CEO Leo Denault said in a statement.
Holtec will get the radioactive waste and a billion dollars paid by Massachusetts ratepayers into a decommissioning trust fund.
Entergy's Mike Twomey says the new owner hopes to store the waste in an underground facility in New Mexico.
"One of the benefits of having Holtec involved in this project is the prospect that the fuel from Pilgrim could move out of Massachusetts sooner than any other alternative," Twomey told WBUR.
Diane Turco, with the nuclear safety group Cape Downwinders, hopes the government makes sure the plant is fully dismantled.
"Entergy will be walking away from the liability regarding the mess they made in Plymouth if they sell to Holtec," Turco said, "and will Holtec have enough money to fully decommission Pilgrim?"
Turco is anxious to see what's done with the spent nuclear fuel being stored at the plant.
With reporting by WBUR's Bruce Gellerman
Correction: An earlier version of this story misspelled Mike Twomey's name. The post has been updated. We regret the error.
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