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Michigan Nuclear Plant Aims To Be First Ever To Reopen In US

Published by Slashdot on Fri, 29 Mar 2024

The Palisades Nuclear Plant in Michigan has won a $1.5 billion conditional federal loan to reopen after being closed for decommissioning in 2022. Canary Media reports: If the loan is granted (subject to Holtec meeting closing conditions) and the 800-megawatt reactor located on Lake Michigan is repowered, it would be the first nuclear plant in the U.S. to reopen after being closed for decommissioning. Surprisingly, it would be just the second or third reactor to restart in the history of global civil nuclear power, according to Mycle Schneider, lead author of the World Nuclear Industry Status Report 2023, in an interview with Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists. Holtec purchased Palisades a month after it shut down with plans to mothball the site, but plans changed. Now the firm, which specializes in nuclear waste management and decommissioning (as opposed to rebuilding and operating nuclear plants), intends to revive the plant instead. Holtec plans to get the power plant restarted by the end of 2025, a breathtakingly aspirational target given nuclear's history of missing construction and cost targets. The Palisades plant was closed by utility Entergy in May 2022 due to financial issues after operating for more than a half-century. And while the plant had a strong operational performance record in recent years, it also has a sobering history of shutdowns due to failures of critical equipment, as well as broken fuel rods and fuel-spill incidents. The site was shut down for the final time a few days ahead of schedule due to concerns about the reliability of a key piece of equipment. When it was operating at its peak, the plant provided more than 600 high-paying jobs, many unionized. If restarted, the plant could drive up to $363 million in regional economic impact, according to Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer, a Democrat. That's why Whitmer and a bipartisan coalition of lawmakers back resurrecting the retired reactor. Local business owners and residents are "largely supportive" of the plan as well, according to local news site MLive. The state's 2024 budget devotes $150 million to the project. Still, the revival of the dormant Palisades faces its share of headwinds.Read more of this story at Slashdot.
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