Company Makes Historic Effort to Revive Shuttered US Nuclear Plant. A deactivated nuclear reactor in the United States is being considered for restart in an unprecedented step. The Palisades Nuclear Generating Station, originally owned by Entergy, ended operations in June 2022 and was afterward acquired by Holtec Decommissioning International, a corporation noted for its competence in nuclear reactor decommissioning. Instead of proceeding with the planned decommissioning, Holtec is launching an unprecedented attempt to restart the 800-megawatt reactor, with the cooperation of Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer.
Nuclear power is a crucial component in meeting the energy demands of the modern world, with numerous reactors operating across multiple countries. Unfortunately, due to safety concerns and aging infrastructure, many reactors are being retired without sufficient replacements being constructed in a timely manner. This challenge is precisely what has prompted the ambitious endeavor to revive the Palisades Nuclear Generating Station.
The reactor, which previously provided 5% of Michigan’s electricity, faced criticism for inadequate maintenance and a weakened nuclear fuel container, as reported by the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission. Nonetheless, Governor Whitmer views the reopening of the plant as a pivotal step towards enhancing Michigan’s competitiveness and fostering future economic development. She has reached out to Jennifer Granholm, the current US Energy Secretary and former Michigan governor, requesting federal funding to support the restart initiative.
Nevertheless, there are voices of dissent who question the feasibility of this ambitious plan. Opponents argue that the plant had encountered significant issues, such as a deteriorated seal on a crucial device responsible for regulating the atomic reaction, leading to its premature closure by the previous owner. Among those raising concerns is Beyond Nuclear, an organization dedicated to addressing the challenges posed by radioactive waste. Kevin Kamps, a radioactive waste specialist from Beyond Nuclear, warns of the potential risks involved in uncharted territory and pledges to oppose the revival of the Palisades nuclear facility.
The effort to restart a deactivated nuclear reactor represents a watershed moment in the United States energy landscape. If it is effective, it could serve as a model for revitalizing other retired nuclear facilities and alleviating the energy gap caused by their closures. The success of this endeavor will surely be keenly watched since it has the ability to determine the future of nuclear power in the United States as well as influence worldwide discourse on sustainable energy generation.