September 25, 2023

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Palisades nuclear plant restarted in energy cooperative deal

Palisades nuclear plant restarted in energy cooperative deal

COVERT, MI – The company that owns the Palisades Nuclear Plant announced it will restart the 800-megawatt power plant in a deal with Wolverine Power Cooperative.

The facility is expected to become the first decommissioned nuclear plant to operate again in the entire United States.

Holtec International said Tuesday, September 2019. On Nov. 12, it entered into a long-term power purchase agreement with Wolverine, which has committed to purchasing up to two-thirds of the nuclear power generated at the facility in Covert Township. Rural Electric Collaboration project partner Hoosier Energy will purchase the balance.

Kelly Trace, Head of Nuclear Generation and Decommissioning at Holtec, said they are thrilled to be in this new partnership. He said it was an “important step” towards reopening the factory.

“Re-enabling the Palisades ensures Michigan has enough energy to meet future demand and mitigate the impact of climate change, while creating hundreds of high-wage Michigan jobs, expanding the local tax base, and unlocking economic opportunities within the region and beyond,” Trice said.

With the support of federal partners, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, the Michigan Legislature, and the local community, said this plan “will soon become a reality.”

Wolverine provides electricity to rural communities in more than half of the Lower Peninsula from 60% carbon-neutral sources. Cooperative officials said this new agreement will reinforce their commitment to providing reliable, affordable and clean energy.

“Repowering Palisades provides a practical, long-term solution for electric reliability in our state and aligns with Michigan’s ambitious goals to reduce carbon emissions,” said Eric Baker, Wolverine’s chief executive officer.

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The plant closed in May last year when it ran out of fuel and the owner sold the facility to Holtec. The new owner has now applied twice for federal funds to help get the plant up and running again.

Michigan lawmakers have allocated $150 million to efforts to restart the Palisades Nuclear Plant as part of the record $81.7 billion state budget recently passed. An application for federal nuclear program dollars remains pending.

Related: Should Michigan have more nuclear power plants? The state study is ongoing

A planned restart of a shuttered nuclear power plant near Southaven could boost Michigan’s carbon-free energy supply and help meet emissions reduction goals while waiting for more wind and solar generation to come onto the grid.

Natural gas power plants provided a larger percentage of the state’s energy supply after the closure of the Palisades nuclear plant and some coal-fired power operations, such as the Weddock plant in Hampton Township and the closure of the De Carne plant in Essexville.

The use of nuclear energy is part of Michigan Carbon Mitigation Plan Adopted last year.

Whitmer’s press secretary said they were proud to support the work to get this done.

“Today’s agreement is a strong step toward restarting the Palisades, which will create 600 good-paying, high-skilled jobs, continue to provide clean energy to nearly 800,000 homes, and support Southwest Michigan’s economic engine,” said Stacy LaRouche, Whitmer’s press secretary. . .

“Our state is once again leading by example, as Palisades is on track to become the first successfully restarted nuclear power plant in American history. We are showing the world that Michigan will be a hub for clean energy production and we are doing everything we can to save jobs, protect communities and provide reliable power to homes.” And small companies.

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But not everyone is excited about this announcement.

Some Palisades Park residents call this among the most dangerous and worst environmental decisions ever made in the nuclear power industry.

“The plant was too expensive to continue operating due to costly maintenance issues that the previous owner didn’t want to invest in, so the old plant is now in worse condition than it was when it closed,” said Kevin Flynn of Palisades Park.

He said it was short-sighted to reopen “a poorly designed and poorly constructed nuclear reactor that depends on the fresh water supply of millions of residents in Michigan, Indiana, Illinois and Wisconsin.”

Power generation in nuclear plants does not generate greenhouse gas emissions that lead to climate change, as burning fossil fuels does. However, some environmentalists remain concerned about the environmental degradation caused by necessary uranium mining and the risks of radiation from toxic waste produced by nuclear plants.

Related articles:

Restarting the Palisades nuclear plant would boost energy supplies and support climate goals

Unprecedented but possible: The owner proposes to restart the Palisades nuclear plant

The planned closure of the coal-fired power plant is sparking lawsuits among utilities