home Nuclear Attitude, Reactors, U Legislators form caucus, send letter supporting reopening Palisades

Legislators form caucus, send letter supporting reopening Palisades

A bipartisan, bicameral group of legislators has sent a letter to Gov. Gretchen Whitmer supporting the reopening of the Palisades Nuclear Power Plant in Covert Township.

Palisades shut down just over a year ago on May 20, 2022, but current owner Holtec International is attempting to restart the plant. Holtec is seeking funding through the U.S. Department of Energy’s loan office to enable the restart.

Among other things, financial commitment from the state is also needed to restart the plant.

The newly formed Nuclear Caucus sent a letter to Whitmer this week with 15 signatures — 13 state representatives and two state senators.

Signatories included West Michigan Reps. Brad Slagh (R-Zeeland), Joey Andrews (D-St. Joseph), Luke Meerman (R-Coopersville) and Paulie Wendzel (R-Watervliet).

Also signing were Sens. Sean McCann (D-Kalamazoo) and Dan Lauwers (R-Brockway Township) and Reps. Helena Scott (D-Detroit), Graham Filler (R-Clinton County), Jaime Greene (R-Richmond), Tom Kunse (R-Clare), Mike McFall (D-Hazel Park), Pat Outman (R-Six Lakes), Bill G. Schuette (R-Midland), Kathy Schmaltz (R-Jackson) and Douglas Wozniak (R-Shelby Township).

The lawmakers told Whitmer that nuclear power “should be a prominent fixture in Michigan’s energy future.” They also said reopening Palisades is a “unique bipartisan opportunity.”

“Since the closure of Palisades, the effects have been felt not only in Covert but throughout the entire Southwest Michigan region and the state as a whole,” the letter states. “However, amidst these challenges lies a unique bipartisan opportunity waiting to be seized. Michigan has always been a hub of technological innovation, from the automotive industry’s pioneering efforts in Detroit to our leadership in the electric and autonomous vehicle revolution. Now, 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.”

The letter closes by saying the legislators are ready to provide their support to the reopening efforts.

“As your administration continues its work, please don’t hesitate to use us, your legislative partners, as a valuable resource,” it states. “We stand ready, willing and able to provide our support, expertise and collaboration to shape not only Michigan’s energy future, but the world’s. Working together, we can lay the foundation for a sustainable and prosperous Michigan and cement our state’s place in American history.”

In a statement, Holtec said it appreciates the support and that funding from the state is “essential” to its efforts.

“We appreciate the Governor’s strong leadership on the repowering of Palisades as well as the bipartisan support from the Michigan legislature,” Holtec’s statement reads.”As these leaders recognize, the repowering of Palisades is of vital importance to Michigan and th

Holtec already filed an application for funding through the Civil Nuclear Credit Program, supported by Whitmer, last year. It was denied in November, but the company hopes its updated application will see different results.

In addition to the financial components, Holtec would need several regulatory moves that closed the plant to be withdrawn, a restoration of the plant’s operating license and to rehire and retrain staff.

Holtec’s decommissioning work thus far hasn’t involved any dismantling of the plant and any decommissioning work completed so far could be undone.

The nation’s energy future as a provider of safe, reliable baseload electricity to achieve the state’s climate goals and meet future energy demand.

“As we continue to actively work with the U.S. Department of Energy through the loan application process, the financial commitment from Michigan is essential to making a return to operations feasible.”

Palisades Nuclear Power Plant closed in May 2022 after 50 years in operation. It closed earlier than planned due to equipment issues.

Source: The Holland Sentinel