NRC to hold public meeting on Palisades restart

April 15, 2024, 7:00AMNuclear News
Palisades nuclear power plant. (Photo: NRECA)

Nuclear Regulatory Commission staff will host a public information meeting on Wednesday, April 17, to discuss plans for repowering the shuttered Palisades nuclear plant in Michigan.

This is the first U.S. attempt to restart electricity generation at a nuclear plant once decommissioning efforts have begun. Then-owner Entergy removed Palisades from service on May 20, 2022. The site was then acquired the following month by Holtec, the prime decommissioning contractor.

Since then, there has been a push to reopen the plant. In March, Palisades received a conditional commitment of a loan guarantee up to $1.52 billion from the Department of Energy’s Loan Programs Office (LPO) to finance the restoration and resumptive service of the 800-MWe plant.

Public outreach: A public meeting will be held April 17 in Benton Harbor, Mich., with a virtual option for those who cannot attend in person. The meeting will begin at 6 p.m. (EDT) at Lake Michigan College, and an hour will be devoted to questions and answers.

How to participate: Attend in person at the Grand Upton Hall, Lake Michigan College, 2755 E. Napier Ave., in Benton Harbor.

Register to attend online here.

Telephone into the meeting by calling 301-576-2978, using conference ID 819396220, and passcode 819396220#.

During the meeting, officials intend to discuss the NRC’s first-of-its-kind restart panel, as well as expected licensing reviews, environmental reviews, and inspection activities at the plant, which is in Covert, near the town of South Haven. The Palisades Nuclear Plant Restart Panel was established to independently assess the facility’s readiness to resume operations without endangering public health and safety.

The background: Holtec Palisades is the first project to be offered a conditional commitment through the LPO’s Energy Infrastructure Reinvestment (EIR) program, sec. 1706, under Title 17, “Clean Energy Financing Program.” This program was first authorized and appropriated by the Inflation Reduction Act.

Since the plant’s infrastructure already exists, the project does not involve traditional major construction activities. However, it will require inspections, testing, refurbishment, rebuilding, and replacement of existing equipment.

Additional units: In addition to Palisades’ 800-MWe reactor, Holtec intends to use the site as the location for its first two small modular reactors, which would be separate from the DOE’s conditional commitment project.

The two SMRs will potentially add another 800 MW of generation capacity at the site, taking advantage of existing infrastructure.

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