Home Business Palisades nuclear plant in Michigan plans to reopen with $1.5 billion loan

Palisades nuclear plant in Michigan plans to reopen with $1.5 billion loan

by SuperiorInvest

The Biden administration announced Wednesday that it had agreed to provide a $1.52 billion loan guarantee to help a company restart a nuclear power plant in Michigan, the latest step in the government's effort to restart the country's reactors.

The Department of Energy loan guarantee will allow Holtec International to restart the Palisades nuclear plant in Covert Township, Michigan, on the shores of Lake Michigan and about 40 miles west of Kalamazoo, and keep it operational until at least 2051. It is conditional on the facility receives regulatory approvals and meets other requirements. The plant stopped operating in May 2022.

Nuclear plants produce electricity without emitting the greenhouse gases that are warming the planet, a feature that has made them popular with policymakers and energy executives. But many of the country's nuclear reactors, including the Palisades plant, are at or near the end of their useful lives and need major upgrades. And few American companies have built new nuclear plants in recent decades because doing so is incredibly expensive and time-consuming. As a result, lawmakers from both parties have supported incentives and subsidies for nuclear energy.

Holtec bought the Palisades plant in 2022 to close it, but later campaigned to reopen the plant with the backing of Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, a Democrat.

“Once open, Palisades will be the first successfully restarted nuclear power plant in American history, generating a regional economic impact of $363 million and helping Michigan lead the future of clean energy,” Whitmer said in a statement.

Federal grant and loan guarantees are expected to help extend the life of other plants and spur the development of new technologies to help ensure there is enough energy to electrify home heaters, cars and industry.

In recent years, California reversed its decision to close the Diablo Canyon power plant on the Pacific Coast because lawmakers are concerned the state does not have enough sources of electricity to avoid blackouts on hot summer afternoons. The Department of Energy awarded $1.1 billion to Pacific Gas & Electric to continue plant operations.

“Nuclear energy is our largest source of carbon-free electricity, directly supporting 100,000 jobs nationwide and hundreds of thousands more indirectly,” said Jennifer M. Granholm, “Biden's Energy Secretary said in a statement Wednesday, announcing the loan guarantee for the Palisades plant.

The United States has the world's largest nuclear power operation, with nearly 100 units nationwide, including two new ones at the Alvin W. Vogtle generating plant in Georgia, which took more than a decade to build and cost a staggering $35. billion dollars. .

Because of the challenges of building large plants like the two Vogtle units (something experts said was unlikely in the United States in the near future), the Biden administration has also pushed for smaller reactors that could be built more quickly and at a lower cost.

Such units, often called small modular reactors, could be built in stages rather than all at once. But no small modular reactor has received full approval and licensing from the Nuclear Regulatory Commission. Holtec wants to use the Palisades nuclear power plant site to build two small modular reactors, although the cost of these would not be covered by the loan guarantee announced Wednesday.

Until small reactors become a reality, most attention has been focused on extending the life of nuclear plants already in operation and reviving older units.

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