Understand the background of the Humboldt Bay Power Plant (HBPP), and learn about the project to decommission the nuclear power plant at the facility.
The PG&E Humboldt Bay Power Plant (HBPP) is located just south of Eureka near the mouth of Humboldt Bay in Humboldt County, California.
Prior to the Unit 3 nuclear power plant at HBPP, there were two small fossil powered units that supplied power to the growing community of Eureka, CA. The two fossil units were commissioned in the mid-1950s and ran for just over 50 years before they were decommissioned. Unit 3 was commissioned in 1963 and operated as a 65 megawatt (MW), natural-circulation boiling-water reactor.
Unit 3 was shut down in 1976 for refueling and seismic upgrades. Repairs subsequently extended the planned shutdown period, and in that interval, significant regulatory changes were made for reactor operation and design. The decision was made to forego further modifications and to not restart Unit 3.
In 1983, PG&E announced its intention to decommission Unit 3. In 1986, PG&E requested a Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) license amendment for SAFSTOR, a condition that would permit Unit 3 to store nuclear fuel, but not to operate. The SAFSTOR license was received in 1988.
Active decommissioning started in 2009 and is now nearing completion with the former reactor vessel, nuclear systems, caisson (containment) structure, buildings and other materials removed. With Unit 3 demolition slated for a 2019 completion, the current focus is on final site restoration, including soil remediation. Final decommissioning surveys and approval by the NRC are expected to occur in 2020.