Dozens of environmental teams submitted a letter to federal vitality officers Friday pleading with them to disclaim funding to a New Jersey firm searching for to reopen a nuclear plant in western Michigan.
In a letter Friday to US Power Secretary Jennifer Granholm and Division of Power officers, the teams argued that the Palisades energy plant mustn’t qualify for the Civil Nuclear Credit score Program, a $6 billion fund created by means of the bipartisan Infrastructure Act.
That is as a result of Palisades will completely shut in Might, in accordance with new proprietor Holtec Worldwide and former proprietor Entergy Nuclear. The federal program states that nuclear energy reactors should shut down attributable to financial elements — which environmental teams say doesn’t embrace Palisades as a result of they now not produce or promote electrical energy.
“It’s unequivocally clear that (program visualizations) solely assist reactors working beneath the Civil Nuclear Credit score Program,” the letter from environmental teams mentioned. “This system is solely 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 will present carbon-neutral vitality, mentioned Nick Kolb, Holtech’s senior director of presidency affairs.
“We stay dedicated to working with our federal, state, and neighborhood companions all through this course of,” Kolb mentioned in an e mail. “For now, our Palisades workers stay targeted on a secure and well timed decommissioning of the positioning, permitting for potential reuse.”
The Civil Nuclear Credit score Program is designed to assist current nuclear vegetation by means of subsidies that assist them overcome the financial challenges that nuclear energy has confronted for the reason that worth of pure gasoline fell. To qualify for the credit, plant house owners should show that their vegetation have closed attributable to financial elements, that the closure will improve air air pollution, and the NRC should be capable of 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 ability 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 will additionally want authorities funding to renew operations, which Whitmer mentioned it was ready to assist.
Whitmer, a Democrat operating for re-election, is normally on the identical aspect 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, mentioned Palisades closed greater than every week early in Might as a “conservative choice primarily based on tools efficiency.” The management rod drive mechanism had a degrading seal.
The Nationwide Nuclear Regulatory Fee mentioned 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, mentioned 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 elimination of gasoline – as with Palisades – the company will decide a path ahead accordingly, primarily based on any details and logic being supplied, to make sure the best security requirements,” Mittling mentioned in an e mail.
Folks gathered just about and in South Haven Thursday evening for a public listening to about Holtech’s unique 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 assist or disdain for the corporate’s current efforts to reopen.
Reopening the Palisades will scale back carbon emissions and different air pollution that comes from coal- and natural-gas vegetation, mentioned Lynn Goodman, who introduced herself throughout the listening to as a Southeast Michigan resident and nuclear decommissioning advisor.
“My well being is affected by that,” Goodman mentioned. “I actually suppose restarting the plant ought 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, mentioned 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 mentioned. “We will problem all of this. We will problem bailouts. We will problem licensing.”