Holtec International looking to restart Palisades nuclear power plant

NOW: Holtec International looking to restart Palisades nuclear power plant

COVERT, Mich. – After fifty-one years in operation, the Entergy Corporation announced in 2016 their plans to decommission the Palisades Nuclear Facility and officially closed the plant on May 20, 2022—and sold the site to Holtec International on June 28, 2022.

While the site is still undergoing the decommissioning process, Holtec announced their new plans to turn Palisades’s half-life into a second-life.

“Holtec has submitted an application to the Department of Energy’s Civil Nuclear Credit program for Palisades,” said Nick Culp, the Senior Manager for Government Affairs at Holtec. “That application could potentially re-activate the facility to help bridge some of the state’s energy needs.”

It's an unprecedented move, that would not only provide increased clean energy production in the state, but also provide an economic boost to Southwest Michigan—with six-hundred jobs alone at the plant, and an additional eleven-hundred jobs supported in the community.

“The more energy providers and generators that we have—the more competitive prices are going to be for consumers, both as private residents and commercial businesses. So what this really does is it increases Michigan’s economic resiliency,” said Arthur Havlicek, President of the Southwest Michigan Regional Chamber. “It’s a big deal. These are good, paying jobs and our area would be lucky to have them.”

Holtec’s plan is already seeing support from the state-- on Friday, Governor Gretchen Whitmer wrote an open letter to the Department of Energy Secretary—and former Michigan governor—Jennifer Granholm, which read, in part: “I will do everything I can to keep this plant open, protect jobs, increase Michigan’s competitiveness, lower costs, and expand clean energy production.”

But Holtec said this process will not happen overnight.

Culp said “Some of those challenges include the financial commitment from the state of Michigan. Maintenance and delayed capital improvements for the facility. Obtaining a purchase power agreement through the state of Michigan. There’s also things such as additional staffing for the site, we would need to acquire new fuel to restart the facility and finally, a successful DOE application would be essential.”

He added that if the application is approved, it would still be at least a year, requiring a significant amount of work and workers to get the plant back online.

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