Diablo Canyon approved for federal funding; Palisades denied

November 22, 2022, 3:00PMNuclear News
The Palisades nuclear power plant, in Michigan, before it was permanently closed. (Photo: Holtec)

Pacific Gas & Electric’s two-unit Diablo Canyon plant—California’s lone operating nuclear power facility—has been deemed eligible for the initial round of funding from the Civil Nuclear Credit (CNC) Program, the Department of Energy announced yesterday.

The decision was welcomed by a nuclear community disappointed by last Friday’s news that the DOE had rejected Holtec International’s CNC application for the recently closed Palisades nuclear plant in Michigan, despite support for the effort from Gov. Gretchen Whitmer.

Michigan to weigh pros, cons of new nuclear

October 19, 2022, 9:30AMNuclear News

Gov. Whitmer

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.

The Hill article: The nuclear industry is stifled

October 6, 2022, 7:04AMANS Nuclear Cafe

Cavanaugh

In an opinion piece published by The Hill, Tim Cavanaugh blasts the federal government for “quick-fix” and “half-hearted” efforts to retain existing nuclear power plants.

Cavanaugh, senior editor at the Mackinac Center for Public Policy, adds that the U.S. nuclear energy industry is stifled by outmoded policies and suggests a number of policy changes to allow it to flourish and to “end a regulatory model that has starved the nuclear industry nearly to extinction.”

Renewable failures: Cavanaugh’s first suggestion is to acknowledge the failure of renewable energy sources like wind and solar, which “produce too little energy and are too unreliable to make a dent in our heat and electricity needs, even though taxpayers have spent billions of dollars on green pork.”

Michigan pledges support for Holtec plan to reopen Palisades

September 13, 2022, 7:02AMNuclear News
The Palisades nuclear power plant. (Photo: Entergy)

Maybe hold off commenting on those Palisades decommissioning plans for now: Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer last Friday penned a letter to energy secretary Jennifer Granholm pledging state support for a Holtec International plan to restart the recently shuttered Palisades nuclear plant in Covert, Mich. It was Whitmer’s second letter to the Department of Energy head expressing support for Palisades and touting its value to the state.

NRC opens Palisades’ decommissioning plans to public comment

September 12, 2022, 7:09AMRadwaste Solutions
The Palisades nuclear power plant.

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission has made Holtec International’s post-shutdown decommissioning activities report (PSDAR) for the closed Palisades nuclear power plant available for public comment until December 27. The NRC also plans to hold a public meeting to discuss the report on the evening of September 22 at the South Haven campus of Lake Michigan College, about 10 miles north of the Palisades site in Covert, Mich.

Twice-extended Civil Nuclear Credit deadline now one week away: Who will apply?

August 30, 2022, 12:00PMNuclear News

The deadline for first-round applications to the Department of Energy’s Civil Nuclear Credit (CNC) Program is September 6. While the program’s goal has never shifted from providing support to nuclear power plants facing closure for economic reasons so that they can continue generating clean power, the deadline and the first-round eligibility criteria have changed. The program was established by the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law with a sizable, yet finite, fund of $6 billion. Those applying in the first round will get the first—and possibly the best—crack at a share of the funds.

Holtec completes acquisition of Michigan’s Palisades and Big Rock Point

June 29, 2022, 3:00PMRadwaste Solutions
The Palisades nuclear power plant. (Photo: Holtec International)

Holtec International announced on June 28 that it has completed the acquisition of the Palisades nuclear power plant and the Big Rock Point site from Entergy Corporation. The Nuclear Regulatory Commission approved the license transfer for the two sites, both located in Michigan, in December 2021.

Michigan House passes bill to study new nuclear build

May 25, 2022, 7:17AMNuclear News

Rep. Graham Filler (Photo: Michigan House Republicans)

It’s not all bad news from Michigan. While it may not make up for the closing of Covert, Mich.’s Palisades nuclear plant, the state’s House of Representatives last week easily approved legislation that calls for a feasibility study to examine the potential for new nuclear generation.

Introduced on April 14 by Rep. Graham Filler (R., 93rd Dist.), House Bill 1609 passed the chamber 85–20 on May 19 (just one day prior to Entergy’s announcement that it closed Palisades 11 days before its scheduled retirement). Now in Senate hands, the measure instructs the Michigan Public Service Commission to engage an outside consulting firm to conduct the study.

Should the bill become law, the commission must deliver a report on the study to the governor and congressional leadership within 18 months.

Entergy closes Palisades 11 days early

May 23, 2022, 9:30AMNuclear News
The Palisades nuclear power plant

Despite last month’s strong (and many might say overdue) expression of interest from Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer in extending the operational life of the Palisades nuclear power plant via the Department of Energy’s new Civil Nuclear Credit Program, the facility’s 777-MWe pressurized water reactor was removed from service last Friday—11 days prior to its scheduled May 31 retirement date.

DOE to fast-track Civil Nuclear Credit bids from the most at-risk reactors

April 21, 2022, 12:00PMNuclear News
The DOE’s guidance for Civil Nuclear Credit Program applicants opens a window for an owner—present or future—to submit a bid for credits that could keep Palisades, in southwest Michigan, operating past its planned May closure date. (Photo: Entergy)

The Department of Energy has announced the steps that would-be applicants must take to access funds from the $6 billion Civil Nuclear Credit (CNC) Program. Guidance published April 19 invites owners or operators of those plants most at risk of near-term closure to apply during the program’s first award cycle. With shutdown planned next month, Entergy’s Palisades plant would top that list (read on for more on Michigan’s efforts to keep the plant operating), but any reactor with publicly announced plans to close by September 30, 2026, that meets other program criteria could be certified for credits. Successful applicants won’t have to wait long for good news: the DOE plans to announce award decisions as soon as 30 days after the May 19 deadline for submitting certification applications together with sealed bids for credits.

Opinion: Governors must stop “superstitious opposition to nuclear energy” to achieve climate goals

March 28, 2022, 9:12AMANS Nuclear Cafe
The Palisades plant near Covert, Mich. (Photo: Entergy)

“Many states have made carbon dioxide–reduction plans with no hope of success. But if they want to meet even a portion of those goals, they must put nuclear power back on the table.” So opined Tim Cavanaugh, senior editor at the Mackinac Center for Public Policy, in an essay published by The Hill on March 23.

Michigan’s nuclear professionals urge Gov. Whitmer to halt premature closure of Palisades nuclear power plant

March 22, 2022, 11:56AMPress Releases

The combined Michigan and Ohio Section of the American Nuclear Society (ANS) urged Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer and state lawmakers in a letter to reconsider the premature closure of the carbon-free Palisades nuclear power plant in May.

Group calls on Michigan officials to save Palisades nuclear plant

February 28, 2022, 6:59AMNuclear News
Palisades nuclear plant. (Photo: Entergy Nuclear)

In the spirit of the letter sent earlier this month to California Gov. Gavin Newsom urging the continued operation of Diablo Canyon beyond 2025, the Climate Coalition—a pronuclear group based in Menlo Park, Calif.—has drafted a similar letter to state officials in Michigan concerning the Palisades nuclear power plant.

The letter, which at this writing has over 260 signatories, implores Gov. Gretchen Whitmer and members of the Michigan legislature to take action to save Palisades. Owner and operator Entergy has slated the plant for permanent closure in May, nine years before the expiration of its operating license.

NRC approves transfer of Palisades, Big Rock Point to Holtec for decommissioning

December 14, 2021, 3:00PMRadwaste Solutions
The Palisades power plant, in Covert Township, Mich.

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission has approved the transfer of the Palisades nuclear power plant licenses from Entergy Nuclear Operations to Holtec International, as owner, and Holtec Decommissioning International (HDI), as decommissioning operator. Holtec and HDI intend to decommission the single-unit pressurized water reactor, located in Covert, Mich., under an accelerated schedule.

The consequences of closure: The local cost of shutting down a nuclear power plant

May 7, 2021, 3:01PMNuclear NewsTim Gregoire

When on May 7, 2013, the Kewaunee nuclear power plant in rural Wisconsin was shut down, it took with it more than 600 full-time jobs and more than $70 million in lost wages, not including temporary employment from refueling and maintenance outages. Taking into account indirect business-to-business activity, the total economic impact of the closure of the single-unit pressurized water reactor was estimated to be more than $630 million to the surrounding three-county area.

Transfer of Palisades license from Entergy to Holtec challenged

February 26, 2021, 12:48PMNuclear News

Several antinuclear groups and the State of Michigan have filed petitions to intervene in the transfer of the Palisades nuclear power plant license from Entergy to Holtec International for decommissioning following the plant’s permanent shutdown and defueling in the spring of 2022.

NRC opens Palisades license proceedings to public comment

February 5, 2021, 9:29AMNuclear News

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission has opened for public comment the license transfer proceedings for the Palisades nuclear power plant, with the opportunity to request a hearing and petition for leave to intervene. Notice of the open proceedings was published in the February 4 Federal Register. Deadlines are February 24 for requests for a hearing and March 8 for comments.

In December, Entergy Corporation and Holtec International jointly submitted an application to the NRC for approval of the transfer of the licenses for the Palisades nuclear plant–located in Covert, Mich.—to Holtec, following the plant’s permanent shutdown and defueling in the spring of 2022. The application also requests approval of the license transfer of Entergy’s decommissioned Big Rock Point facility near Charlevoix, Mich., where only the independent spent fuel storage installation (ISFSI) remains.

Palisades license transfer request submitted to NRC

January 5, 2021, 7:03AMRadwaste Solutions

The Palisades nuclear plant will be permanently retired in the spring of next year. Photo: Entergy Nuclear

Entergy Corporation and Holtec International have jointly submitted an application to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission for approval of the transfer of the licenses for the Palisades nuclear plant, in Covert, Mich., to Holtec, following the plant’s permanent shutdown and defueling in the spring of 2022.

The application, dated December 23, also requests approval of the license transfer of Entergy’s decommissioned Big Rock Point facility near Charlevoix, Mich., where only the independent spent fuel storage installation (ISFSI) remains.

Final outage completed at Palisades plant

October 23, 2020, 7:01AMNuclear News

Palisades: The Covert, Mich., plant reentered commercial operation on October 21 for one last run. Photo: Entergy Nuclear.

Entergy Corporation’s Palisades nuclear power plant returned to service on October 21, following the completion of the Covert, Mich., facility’s final refueling and maintenance outage, which began on August 30.

The company invested more than $86.5 million during the outage, according to Entergy. The plant’s 600 full-time nuclear professionals worked with approximately 800 supplemental workers to replace reactor fuel and to inspect and upgrade hundreds of pipes, pumps, electrical components, and other equipment.

Entergy takes net-zero pledge, teams with Mitsubishi to decarbonize with hydrogen

October 2, 2020, 9:56AMNuclear News

Paul Browning, Mitsubishi Power, and Paul Hinnenkamp, Entergy, sign the joint agreement on September 23. Photo: Entergy

New Orleans–based Entergy Corporation last week announced a commitment to achieve net-zero carbon emissions by 2050, joining a growing list of major energy companies to make that promise—including Dominion Energy, Duke Energy, Southern Company, Xcel Energy, and Public Service Enterprise Group. And, like those companies, Entergy says that it sees nuclear playing an important role in the realization of that goal.