Bipartisan group backs plans to return plant to service
The US state of Michigan’s newly approved budget includes $150m (€137m) to support the restart of the Palisades nuclear power station, which was shut down in May 2022.
Provision of the money depends on federal support for the reopening.
Holtec International, the company that bought the single-unit station, has been working to get federal and state support to help restart the plant. Palisades, on the shore of Lake Michigan in Covert Township, began commercial operation in 1971.
The 805-MW pressurised water reactor unit was bought by Holtec just weeks after its May 2022 shutdown.
Holtec initially planned to repurpose the 174-hectare site but the Biden administration’s $6bn of aid for upgrading nuclear facilities in the US led the company to reconsider its plans. Nuclear energy is crucial to president Joe Biden’s goal of an economy with net zero carbon emissions by 2050.
The plant’s recent closure makes it eligible for the funds, which are supposed to go towards extending the working life of currently-functioning reactors. No significant steps have been taken to dismantle the plant since it was shut down.
A bipartisan group of Michigan lawmakers that make up a newly formed nuclear energy caucus recently wrote a letter to governor Gretchen Whitmer expressing “full support” for the re-opening of Palisades.
“We have the chance to make history by successfully repowering a non-operational nuclear power plant, becoming the first state in American history to accomplish such a feat,” state lawmakers wrote.
“The successful re-powering of Palisades would immediately provide safe, carbon-free, and reliable energy to a grid that desperately needs more baseload generation.”