Dozens of environmental teams submitted a letter to federal vitality officers Friday pleading with them to disclaim funding to a New Jersey firm looking for to reopen a nuclear plant in western Michigan.
In a letter Friday to US Vitality Secretary Jennifer Granholm and Division of Vitality officers, the teams argued that the Palisades energy plant shouldn’t qualify for the Civil Nuclear Credit score Program, a $6 billion fund created via the bipartisan Infrastructure Act.
That is as a result of Palisades will completely shut in Could, in response to new proprietor Holtec Worldwide and former proprietor Entergy Nuclear. The federal program states that nuclear energy reactors should shut down resulting from financial components — which environmental teams say doesn’t embrace Palisades as a result of they not produce or promote electrical energy.
“It’s unequivocally clear that (program visualizations) solely help reactors working below the Civil Nuclear Credit score Program,” the letter from environmental teams stated. “This system is just not contemplating financing a closed reactor that has ended operations.”
The letter was signed by the Michigan Sierra Membership, Michigan Wildlife Service, Northern Michigan Environmental Motion Council, and anti-nuclear teams throughout Michigan and the US.
Bringing Palisades again into the grid “could be an enormous success story” for Michigan and the US as a result of it could present carbon-neutral vitality, stated Nick Kolb, Holtech’s senior director of presidency affairs.
“We stay dedicated to working with our federal, state, and group companions all through this course of,” Kolb stated in an e mail. “For now, our Palisades staff stay targeted on a protected and well timed decommissioning of the positioning, permitting for potential reuse.”
The Civil Nuclear Credit score Program is designed to assist present nuclear crops via subsidies that assist them overcome the financial challenges that nuclear energy has confronted because the worth of pure gasoline fell. To qualify for the credit, plant house owners should reveal that their crops have closed resulting from financial components, that the closure will enhance air air pollution, and the NRC should have the ability to present “cheap assurance” that the reactor can function with its present license and doesn’t pose important security dangers. .
The prospect of Palisades returning to the facility grid gained momentum early this month after Governor Gretchen Whitmer’s workplace introduced that Holtech had utilized for funding for its civilian nuclear credit score program in July. The corporate warned that it could additionally want authorities funding to renew operations, which Whitmer stated it was ready to help.
Whitmer, a Democrat operating for re-election, is normally on the identical facet as environmentalists on many points. However they diverged in Palisades.
There are obstacles to reopening. Prema Chandrathil, public affairs officer for the US Nuclear Regulatory Fee, stated Palisades closed greater than per week early in Could as a “conservative choice based mostly on gear efficiency.” The management rod drive mechanism had a degrading seal.
The Nationwide Nuclear Regulatory Fee stated the Nuclear Regulatory Authority transferred Palisades’ license from Intergy to Holtech “for the aim of dismantling Palisades” on June 28. All gasoline was faraway from the reactor on June 13.
The NRC has by no means obtained a request to place a nuclear plant again into the grid after it was completely decommissioned, so it is unclear what Holtech is in retailer for if it seeks to reopen the Palisades, stated Victoria Mittling, NRC’s chief public affairs officer.
“If the NRC receives such a proper request to re-authorize the operation of a nuclear energy plant after the operator has formally notified the NRC of a everlasting ceasing of operations and everlasting removing of gasoline – as with Palisades – the company will decide a path ahead accordingly, based mostly on any info and logic being supplied, to make sure the best security requirements,” Mittling stated in an e mail.
Individuals gathered just about and in South Haven Thursday night time for a public listening to about Holtech’s authentic plan for Palisades, which might have shut down the plant. Though the assembly agenda was imagined to be tailor-made to the corporate’s 2020 shutdown plan, many attendees expressed help or disdain for the corporate’s current efforts to reopen.
Reopening the Palisades will cut back carbon emissions and different air pollution that comes from coal- and natural-gas crops, stated Lynn Goodman, who offered herself in the course of the listening to as a Southeast Michigan resident and nuclear decommissioning advisor.
“My well being is affected by that,” Goodman stated. “I actually suppose restarting the plant needs to be thought of, so we’re placing in much less polluted air in Michigan.”
Kevin Camps, a radioactive waste specialist at anti-nuclear group Past, stated regulators and the general public have been duped by Holtech, which had acquired Palisades with a promise to close it down.
“It is too dangerous to seek out out on September 9 that Holtech utilized on July 5 for this federal bailout and is asking for a authorities bailout,” Camps stated. “We’ll problem all of this. We’ll problem bailouts. We’ll problem licensing.”