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RESTART for Palisades Keeps Moving Forward

  • By Admin
  • June 14, 2023

The Palisades Nuclear Power Plant is a nuclear power plant located in Covert Township, Michigan, United States. It is situated on the eastern shore of Lake Michigan, about 80 miles (130 kilometers) west of Kalamazoo. The plant was owned by Entergy Corporation, which is a utility company that operates nuclear power plants across the United States.

The Palisades Nuclear Power Plant began commercial operation in 1971 and has a single pressurized water reactor (PWR) that generates electricity. It has a capacity of approximately 811 megawatts, which is enough to power hundreds of thousands of homes. The plant supplied electricity to the surrounding region and contributed to the overall energy grid, before being shut down on Friday, May 20, 2022 at 3:57 PM ET.

Following the plant shutdown, ownership of the 800 MW plant was transferred from Entergy to Holtec International for decommissioning. But in November 2021, an infrastructure bill was signed into law, and Holtec applied for federal dollars through the Energy Department’s Civil Nuclear Credit Program in hopes of restarting the plant. Currently, federal energy officials are reviewing their $1 billion grant application – and if granted, it would be the primary investment for restart of the plant.

Since then, Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer has expressed her commitment to the restart of Palisades, as she considers nuclear energy to be a key to meeting Michigan’s climate goals as more solar and wind power infrastructure is being built. A spokesperson for the Governor was quoted as saying the nuclear plant is a “critical energy source and economic driver” for the region and that the governor’s office was in touch with Holtec and working to secure federal funding. In addition, a bipartisan group of Michigan lawmakers, that make up a newly formed nuclear energy caucus, wrote a letter to Governor Whitmer expressing “full support” for the re-opening of Palisades nuclear plant. They feel state money, as much as $300 million, could be used as bridge funding for the restart effort. Local climate advocates have also claimed their support for the restart of Palisades, based on its ability to generate emission-free electricity.

Holtec officials were quoted as saying it would take hundreds of millions of dollars for facility renovations and to buy nuclear fuel.

Politically – it seems things are properly aligned for restart, but it all hinges on approval of Holtec’s grant application by the DOE (Department of Energy).

Photo Credit: Holtec International