Palisades Power Plant to be sold for decommissioning after 2022 shutdown
COVERT, Mich. – Entergy announced its plan to sell Palisades Nuclear Power Plant for decommissioning after operations cease in 2022.
Wednesday, the company said Holtec International will acquire licenses, spent nuclear fuel, and Nuclear Decommissioning Trusts to the plant that currently generates enough electricity to power 800,000 homes in Southwest Michigan. The sale puts the power plant on the fast track to deconstruction.
Joy Russell, the Chief Communications Officer for Holtec, said the purpose of the sale is to safely move all of the spent nuclear fuel from Palisades’ existing storage pool into dry cask storage. This is expected to take approximately three years after the plant is shut down and all fuel has been safely removed from the reactor.
As of Aug. 1, there were 46 casks filled with used fuel; And more can be expected as there are four years left in operation and two refuelings during that time.
Once Holtec moves the used fuel into dry storage, they plan to ship it off to New Mexico at their facility named “HI-STORE.” This facility will store spent fuel from nuclear plants around the country including Palisades.
If this plan is carried out, Russell said it would “enable Holtec to return the full site to unrestricted use once the fuel has been transported off-site."
In 2016, Entergy originally made arrangements to close the plant and terminate its Power Purchase Agreement with Consumers Energy in October 2018, citing “business risks of continued operations.”
However, Consumers Energy and Entergy mutually agreed to carry out the purchase agreement through spring of 2022.
Val Gent with Entergy said in statement, "[Entergy] purchased Palisades in 2007 as part of its growth strategy and was able to leverage its expertise in nuclear power plant operations across an expanded fleet of nuclear plants. Entergy announced last year that it plans to permanently close Palisades in 2022 as a result of market conditions that have changed substantially."
As far as employment goes for the 600 current employees at the nuclear plant, Gent says 300 of them will be needed for the first phase of decommissioning. After that, remaining employees will be offered positions with Entergy or given assistance to find other jobs.
“We are going to work with our employees and treat them fairly as we have," said Gent.
The company also announced the selling of another plant, Pilgrim Nuclear Power Station in Massachusetts, and plans to sell two other closed plants in Vermont and New York, seemingly pulling operations from the north.
Gent said the closing of the northern plants are due to business focuses in southern states as the company is headquartered in New Orleans.
“Entergy’s corporate strategy is to exit the corporate power market and invest in our utility business down south,” she said.
It is unclear what the property will be used for or what electricity generator will provide power to the area after the cleanup.