April 28, 2022
The Honorable Gretchen Whitmer
Governor of Michigan
The Honorable Jennifer Granholm, Secretary of Energy
Department of Energy
Dear Governor Whitmer and Secretary Granholm,
We are heartened by your recent announcements about the actions you have taken to save Michigan’s Palisades Nuclear Generating Station. We thank you for representing the interest of Michigan residents and the nation, especially all the young people who will inherit the environment and climate that we leave for them.
The Biden administration, with strong bipartisan support, has determined that a robust nuclear energy industry is vital for our energy sovereignty, national security, economic development, and climate mitigation goals, and that our existing nuclear power plants are invaluable infrastructure assets.
Secretary Granholm, over the past few weeks, you have swiftly turned the provisions of President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law into a fully funded and thoughtfully structured program to save financially challenged plants such as Palisades. The program recognizes that wholesale power markets generally do not adequately compensate nuclear plants for their full value—reliable and emission-free electricity; high-paying long-term jobs, and important local and regional economic activity. Until we have substantial electricity market reform to correct this problem, government action is well-justified to keep plants such as Palisades online.
We also commend you, Governor Whitmer, for your courageous and visionary non-partisan leadership. You have exercised due diligence, considered the data, and supported a path that is best for Michigan, its residents, and the environment. You have more than met the challenge by directing Michigan officials to convene multiple meetings with current and potential stakeholders to help craft a solution to preserve Palisades. In your April 20 letter to Secretary Granholm, you wrote, “Keeping Palisades open is a top priority […] Doing so will allow us to shore up Michigan’s energy supply to prevent price spikes on working families and small businesses, make Michigan more competitive for economic development projects bringing billions in investment, protect hundreds of good-paying jobs for Michiganders, and meet our climate goals.”
Dan Scripps, Chair of the Michigan Public Service Commission, is sharing the excitement for saving Palisades. He sees this as an opportunity to help preserve a reliable, affordable and cleaner electric grid. Saving Palisades aligns the global scientific consensus that there must be a greatly expanded role for nuclear if the world is to meet its energy security and climate goals with the interests of Michigan businesses and ratepayers.
Already, the most recent capacity auction for electricity generation in the next planning period in Michigan jumped 47-fold in anticipation of the retirement of Palisades and other generators. Further, prices for natural gas and electricity are at near-record highs due to a rebounding economy and maximized gas exports to Europe. Saving Palisades will reduce the strain of rising and volatile energy prices on both Michigan’s and the overall U.S. economy and help provide relief to low- and moderate-income households, which are suffering the highest cost of living and inflation in 40 years.
While we are aware that details of the Palisades sale are complex, and the hour is very late, there are no technical or safety reasons why Palisades cannot stay open. Only bureaucratic and contractual technicalities stand in the way of Palisades’ continued operation. It is our fervent hope that all players, individual and corporate, acknowledge the extent of thought, resources and action behind this effort to save Palisades, and do their civic and patriotic duty to deliver a successful resolution.
By saving Palisades, Michigan will be a leader in implementing clearly articulated recommendations by scientists, rather than responding to ideological partisan politics or allowing flawed markets to make decisions that are misaligned with and, in fact, contrary to our best interests.
 Governor’s Office: Letter from Governor Whitmer to Secretary of Energy, Jennifer Granholm, April 20, 2022 (https://content.govdelivery.com/attachments/MIEOG/2022/04/20/file_attachments/2136675/Palisades%20Letter.pdf) and DOE Seeks Applications, Bids for $6 Billion Civil Nuclear Credit Program, posted April 19, 2022 (https://www.energy.gov/articles/doe-seeks-applications-bids-6-billion-civil-nuclear-credit-program)
 Governor Whitmer Press Release:Whitmer Calls for Federal Investment to Protect Jobs and Shore up Energy Needs, April 20, 2022 (https://www.michigan.gov/whitmer/news/press-releases/2022/04/20/whitmer-calls-for-federal-investment-to- protect-jobs-and-shore-up-energy-needs)
 MiBiz, Efforts underway to save Palisades nuclear plant from closing, by Andy Balaskovitz, April 20, 2022
 IPCC Characteristics of 4 Model Pathways (https://www.ipcc.ch/sr15/chapter/spm/spm-c/spm3b/)
 Seeking Alpha Midwest Annual Electricity Prices Skyrocket Amid High NG and Capacity Shortfall, by Mike Zaccardi, April 20, 2022
The above letter is signed by
U.S. Women in Nuclear, University of Michigan Student Chapter
Climate Coalition, Michigan
Dr. Todd Allen
Glenn F. and Gladys H. Knoll Department Chair of Nuclear Engineering and Radiological Sciences, University of Michigan, Director of the Michigan Memorial Phoenix Project, Director of the Fastest Path to Zero Initiative, author of “Opinion: Why closing Palisades nuclear plant is like sinking the lifeboats,” published October 14, 2021 in Bridge Michigan
Dr. Frederick Buckman
Adjunct Professor University of Michigan, Former CEO Consumers Power, Former Chief Nuclear Officer Consumers Power
Dr. John C. Lee
Professor Emeritus, University of Michigan, currently serving on the National Academy of Sciences Panel on Used Nuclear Fuel and Waste Management Issues
Dr. William R Martin
Professor Emeritus of Nuclear Engineering, Department of Nuclear Engineering and Radiological Sciences, University of Michigan, University of Michigan, Associate Editor, Nuclear Science and Engineering
Dr. James Hansen
Director, Climate Science, Awareness and Solutions, Columbia University Earth Institute
Dr. Dietmar Detering
Climate Coalition, Protect Nuclear NOW, Nuclear New York
Climate Coalition, Michigan
Climate Coalition, Michigan
Dr. Fred Behringer
Scientist, Analytical Chemistry/Plant Biology, Climate Coalition
Climate Coalition, Protect Nuclear NOW
The Breakthrough Institute
Generation Atomic, Citizen’s Climate Lobby
We are signing on behalf of ourselves and the hundreds of other signatories to the original letter to Governor Whitmer and Michigan state officials requesting urgent state action to protect Palisades, available for viewing on the Climate Coalition’s website at: Sign the Letter to Save Palisades.
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