While the fate of Michigan’s Palisades nuclear plant remains uncertain, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer has approved legislation requiring a feasibility study to examine the potential for new nuclear generation in the state.
Signed into law last Friday, House Bill 1609 instructs the Michigan Public Service Commission to engage an outside consulting firm to conduct the study.
The measure was introduced in the House on April 14 by Rep. Graham Filler (R., 93rd Dist.) and passed that chamber on May 19, 85–20. On September 28, the bill passed even more comfortably in the Senate, 32–4.
The mandated study is due to the governor and leaders of the state legislature in 18 months.
Words from the sponsor: “My legislation ensures our state continues to research and review nuclear energy, which has provided millions of homes and businesses affordable, clean energy for many years here in Michigan,” Fuller said following Whitmer’s signing. “A huge thanks to the governor for understanding the importance of this bipartisan legislation.”
Bill basics: HB 1609 requires the selected consulting firm to consider, among other things, the following:
- Advantages and disadvantages of building additional nuclear energy facilities, including economic and environmental impacts.
- Ways to maximize the use of Michigan workers and products in the construction of these facilities.
- Design characteristics, land and siting criteria, safety criteria, engineering and cost-related criteria, and small modular reactor capability.
- Timeline for development.
- Efficiencies and other benefits that may be gained by coordinating with other advanced, clean energy technologies, such as hydrogen, carbon capture, and energy storage.