Courier-Leader & Flashes

Sale of Palisades to take place once plant stops producing

Palisades to sell to Holtec once production stops on May 31
The company that owns Palisades Nuclear Plant has received federal regulators’ approval to sell once the power plant stops production this year.
The 811-megawatt plant, located on the shores of Lake Michigan near South Haven, is expected to cease operations by May 31. After that, Holtec International, a New Jersey-based company, will take ownership of Palisades and begin the process of decommissioning the plant, which involves removing and storing nuclear waste and other contaminated materials and decontaminating facilities before structures are torn down.
Entergy Corp., Palisades’ current owner, announced its plans to sell the Covert Township plant to Holtec, a nuclear energy industry supplier, in 2018
Entergy has said the dismantling process will be quicker under the management of Holtec’s decommissioning arm, which has promised a decommissioning timeline one-third the length of the timeline under Entergy. Holtec has set a 2041 completion date for decommissioning Palisades.
After decommissioning, the 432-acre property will be ready for redevelopment.
Holtec is expected to keep 260 of the plant’s 600 employees on the job after the sale.
With Palisades, Holtec will also acquire from Entergy spent fuel in storage at the already-decommissioned Big Rock Point nuclear plant in Charlevoix. Big Rock Point’s decontamination and dismantlement was completed in 1999, and it was sold to Entergy when Entergy acquired Palisades in 2007.
Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel has asked to intervene in the sale of Palisades and Big Rock Point, requesting a hearing to review if Holtec has proven it can afford taking on the projects.
Nessel, in the petition to the NRC, questioned whether Holtec had accurately estimated the cost of decommissioning both sites. Holtec has said it plans to use $550 million in a decommissioning trust fund, paid into by Consumers Energy ratepayers, to cover the costs.
In its approval order, the NRC acknowledged there were pending petitions for hearings on the Palisades sale, including Nessel’s on behalf of the state of Michigan, and noted the NRC could later revoke or modify its approval of the plant’s sale depending on the outcome of a hearing.
The Southwest Michigan Planning Commission has received nearly $1 million from the U.S. Economic Development Administration to help the region prepare for the closure of the plant, which is a significant employer and generator of tax revenue for Van Buren County.
Some of the federal funding is paying for a study of the plant’s economic impact and the development of an economic recovery plan.
Holtec is in process of decommissioning several other U.S. nuclear plants, including Pilgrim Nuclear Power Station in Plymouth, Mass., Oyster Creek Generating Station in Lacy, New Jersey, and Indian Point Energy Center in Buchanan, New York.

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