Despite the Department of Energy’s denial of funding, Holtec International and Michigan are still moving forward in their efforts to restart the Palisades Nuclear Power Plant, located in Covert, Michigan. Last year, the plant closed when its fuel ran out. Entergy, the owner, sold the facility to Holtec International for the purpose of decommissioning.
Michigan lawmakers recently passed a $81.7 billion state budget which included $150 million for the restart of the Palisades nuclear plant. Governor, Gretchen Whitmier, and climate advocates argue that nuclear power provides reliable energy without emitting greenhouse gas emissions. In fact, nuclear energy is a critical part of Governor Whitmer’s climate goals. She says nuclear is necessary as a reliable baseload of power as they bring on more solar and wind generation.
According to Michigan lawmakers, the restart of Palisades will bring back six hundred high paying jobs to Southwest Michigan with an economic impact of over a quarter-billion dollars annually. This will provide the much-needed base-load generation; eight hundred MWs of carbon-free reliable energy, even when the sun does not shine, and the wind isn’t blowing.
According to Holtec, the state money will serve as “bridge funding” to pay for the restart efforts at Palisades should federal decommissioning funds become unavailable. The primary investment for the nuclear plant restart is a pending $1 billion grant application.
U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission Chairman Christopher T. Hanson discussed the efforts at Palisades during a House subcommittee hearing in June. He said the federal agency is in talks with Holtec about how to reverse decommissioning and bring the plant back to life. “They have gotten a series of exemptions when they shut down. The exemptions will need to be addressed in a timely way, physically bring the plant back into compliance, and reestablish programs. It is new ground for both Holtec and for us. But I am confident that the staff can approach this with the appropriate sense of urgency and creativity, while maintaining safety too,” Hanson said.