Humboldt Bay

Life cycle timeline consisting of 6 various stages of status (Pre-Licensing, Licensing, Construction, Operating, Operating with Intent to Decommission, Decommissioning) with the current status(s) shown in color, and the other available status are greyed out

Humboldt Bay, Unit 3, a 65 MWe boiling water reactor plant located 4 miles southwest of Eureka, CA

Location: Eureka, CA., in Region IV
Licensee: Pacific Gas and Electric Company
Operating License: Issued – 08/28/1962
Part 50 license Terminated November 18, 2021
Docket Number: 05000133

Reactor Type: Power Reactor, Boiling Water Reactor
Licensed MWt: 200
Reactor Vendor/Type: 
Containment Type:

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1.0 Site Identification

Type of Site: Power Reactor Facility
Location: Eureka, CA
License No.: DPR-7
Docket No.: 50-133
License Status: Standalone ISFSI (DECON complete - ISFSI remains)
Project Manager: None

2.0 Site Status Summary

Humboldt Bay, Unit 3 was a 65 MWe boiling water reactor plant located 4 miles southwest of Eureka, CA. The plant operated commercially from 1963 to 1976. On July 2, 1976, Humboldt Bay Power Plant (HBPP) Unit 3 was shut down for annual refueling and to conduct seismic modifications. In 1983, updated economic analyses indicated that restarting Unit 3 would probably not be cost-effective, and in June 1983, PG&E announced its intention to decommission the unit. On July 16, 1985, the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) issued Amendment No. 19 to the HBPP Unit 3 Operating License to change the status to possess-but-not-operate, and the plant was placed into a SAFSTOR status. SAFSTOR is the decommissioning method in which a nuclear facility is placed and maintained in a condition that allows the safe storage of radioactive components of the nuclear plant and subsequent decontamination to levels that permit license termination. In December 2003, PG&E formally submitted a license application to the NRC for approval of a dry-cask Independent Spent Fuel Storage Installation (ISFSI) at the Humboldt Bay site. A license and safety evaluation for the Humboldt Bay ISFSI were issued on November 17, 2005. The transfer of spent fuel from the fuel storage pool to the ISFSI was completed in December 2008, and decontamination and dismantlement of HBPP Unit 3 decommissioning commenced. Virtually all of the plant related structures have been removed from the site including the caisson.  A caisson is a water tight structure used as a foundation or to carry out work below grade.  At Humboldt Bay, the caisson was a first of its kind to house a nuclear containment structure, pressure suppression chamber, and nuclear steam supply system below grade.

Decommissioning of Humboldt Bay Unit 3 is complete, including final status surveys and license termination activities. The site met all criteria for decommissioning and release of the site for unrestricted use in accordance with Title 10 of the Code of Federal Regulations (10 CFR), Part 20, Subpart E, and the 10 CFR Part 50 license was terminated on November 18, 2021.

3.0 Major Technical or Regulatory Issues


4.0 Estimated Date for Closure

Part 50 license Terminated November 18, 2021

Page Last Reviewed/Updated Thursday, March 24, 2022