Holtec, Palisades’ New Owner, Seeks Okay to Restart Palisades

News update of Oct. 7, 2023
From: Michael Schneider

Originally Holtec had acquired the Palisades Power Plant for what many assumed was for the purpose of decommissioning it, as decommissioning retired nuclear power plants has been a major component of their business. Just prior to the transfer of Palisades, the plant was prematurely shut down, despite its operating license extending until 2031, due to the need for a repair.  Prior to its closure, Palisades had been one of only three nuclear generating plants operating in Michigan.

Initially after acquiring Palisades, Holtec announced a plan to replace the plant with newly designed smaller nuclear plants based on technology which Holtec itself is developing and hoping to make available later this decade. Then, with the passage of the Civil Nuclear Credit program as authorized in the Infrastructure, Investment & Jobs Act, Holtec subsequently proposed repairing and restarting the existing Palisades plant. With billions in Federal subsidies available, keeping Palisades operating received public support from Michigan’s governor Gretchen Whitmer, as well as DOE’s Jennifer Granholm. With Holtec’s interest in re-starting the plant, the Michigan Legislature has approved as much as $150 million in state funding in 2024 to support the reopening of Palisades, contingent on expected funding from the U.S. Department of Energy.

Carol Thompson of the Detroit News has now published “Palisades’ owner asks NRC for permission to restart nuclear plant,” That was an important step.  There are more steps to go before Palisades can be reopened, but with news of their filing with the NRC, Holtec appears to be demonstrating a clear commitment to making that happen.

Also, according to Ms. Thompson’s reporting, “Nuclear power is included as an allowable power source in the carbon-free energy legislative package moving through the Michigan Legislature.” Assuming this package of legislation is passed, Michigan would be one of the first U.S. states to to pass a nuclear-inclusive Clean Energy Standard, which is the type energy policy advocated by the Climate Coalition to enable the most rapid transition to a 100% Clean Energy economy.

As recently as mid-September, Palisades had already made a “giant step” forward in its effort to restart Palisades, by signing a long-term power purchase agreement with Wolvering Power Cooperative, which provides energy to rural communities across Michigan. Wolverine agreed to buy as much as 2/3rds of Palisades’ future power and its partner, Hoosier Energy, has agreed to purchase the rest.

  1. Read more of Carol Thompson’s Detroit News article at: “Palisades’ owner asks NRC for permission to restart nuclear plant,” published Oct. 6, 2023.
  2. Read more of Utility Dive’s Senior Editor, Larry Pearl’s article, Restart of Palisades nuclear plant takes a ‘giant step’ as Holtec, Wolvering Power sign PPA, published on Sept. 13, 2023.