Rancho Seco nuclear power plant ends decommissioning

26 October 2006– The Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) has released the majority of the 930 MW Rancho Seco nuclear power plant for unrestricted public use, 20 years after California residents voted to shut it down.

The NRC initially issued an operating license for Rancho Seco in 1974, and the plant began commercial operation in 1975. A voter initiative shut the plant down in 1989.

The Sacramento Municipal Utility District (SMUD), which owned the plant, successfully decommissioned the facility October 23. Eighty acres of the site now fall below the NRC’s regulatory requirements of a maximum annual dose of 25 millirem from residual contamination. The average person in the United States receives about 300 millirem a year from background or natural radiation. Approximately 11 acres of land including a storage building for low-level radioactive waste and a dry-cask spent fuel storage facility will remain under NRC licenses.

SMUD will continue to secure and protect the remaining NRC licensed land and facilities until all radioactive material is removed from the site.
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