“I will do everything I can to keep this plant open, protect jobs, increase Michigan’s competitiveness, lower costs and expand clean energy production,” Whitmer wrote in a letter to energy secretary Jennifer Granholm.
She said keeping Palisades in operation would protect 600 high-paying jobs at the 805-MW pressurised water reactor facility and 1,100 additional jobs throughout the community while also “shoring up clean, reliable energy production in Michigan”.
Kris Singh, Texas-based Holtec’s president and chief executive officer, said Palisades is of vital importance of Palisades to Michigan’s clean energy future as a source of safe and reliable carbon-free electricity. He said the governor and her team have been instrumental in supporting this opportunity to keep the plant open.
Holtec wants to use some of the $6bn appropriated in last year’s infrastructure bill to support the continued operation of existing nuclear reactors.
In July, Holtec completed the acquisition of Palisades, formerly owned and operated by Entergy, for decommissioning. The plant was first connected to the grid in 1971 but was shut down permanently in May 2022.
Potential Restart Adds To Nuclear Revival
In 2016 Entergy announced a plan to retire Palisades saying “market conditions have changed substantially, and more economic alternatives are now available to provide reliable power to the region”.
The potential restart of Palisades follows a vote earlier this month by the California legislature to provide funds to assure the continued operation of the two-unit Diablo Canyon nuclear station in California until 2030.
The move to prolong Diablo Canyon’s operation followed last September’s vote by the Illinois legislature to appropriate some $700m to subsidise the continued operation of two units at the Byron nuclear station and two units at the Dresden nuclear station in that state.
This means that over the past 12 months, six nuclear plants that were slated for permanent closure have been scheduled for longer operation.