Shuttered nuclear plant set to reopen in Michigan with the help of the federal government


Michigan – Michigan could become the first U.S. state to restart a previously shut down nuclear power plant. This move is possible if the Biden administration decides to allocate a significant amount of federal funds to support clean energy initiatives.

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The Biden administration is working towards a bold objective to reduce greenhouse gas emissions significantly by 2035 and transition the U.S. to non-polluting energy sources. Various localities are aiming to achieve this goal even earlier, investing resources to make it happen.

A recent article from Michigan Times highlighted that the Biden administration is considering a $1.5 billion loan to refurbish a nuclear facility in Michigan. This would mark the first instance of a decommissioned nuclear reactor in the U.S. being reactivated.

Michigan already provided $150 million for the nuclear plant

The Palisades nuclear power facility could receive an additional $150 million from Michigan taxpayers, effectively doubling the existing financial commitment to revive the shut-down plant.

Michigan’s Governor, Gretchen Whitmer, proposed a budget for the upcoming year that includes an extra $150 million to support the reactivation of the plant, located near Lake Michigan in Van Buren County, close to South Haven.

This proposed funding is on top of the $150 million allocated last year and hinges on securing further federal financial support. There’s anticipation that the federal government will approve a $1.5 billion loan for the facility, along with considering a separate subsidy application.

The Palisades nuclear power plant was closed in 2022

Governor Whitmer supports the initiative to restart the facility, which was closed in May 2022 by its previous owners who deemed it too costly to operate compared to alternative energy sources like wind, solar, or natural gas.

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Whitmer’s spokesperson, Bobby Leddy, stated on Thursday that reactivating the plant could reintroduce hundreds of well-paying, skilled jobs and provide carbon-free electricity to roughly 800,000 households.

“We are showing the world that Michigan will be an epicenter of clean energy production and do what it takes to save jobs, protect local communities, and deliver reliable power to homes and small businesses,” Leddy said.

The effort to get the Palisades nuclear power plant up and running again is getting support from lawmakers across the political spectrum in Michigan. However, there are voices against this move, criticizing it as a risky investment in a struggling industry and focusing on a facility that’s past its prime.

Some oppose the project, prefer other projects to be funded

Critics argue that the funds earmarked for Palisades could be better spent on renewable energy projects, enhancing public transit, or other initiatives aimed at cutting down reliance on fossil fuels.

“It’s a joke, but it’s not funny,” said Kevin Kamps of the anti-nuclear group Beyond Nuclear to Bridge Michigan. “Why don’t the state and federal government just hand the keys to the Treasury over (to) this company?”

Holtec International, a company from New Jersey, acquired Palisades from Entergy in June 2022 with the initial intention of dismantling it. However, they shifted gears, proposing to revive the plant with taxpayer support, which could amount to billions of dollars.

When operational, Palisades’ energy production was notably more expensive than average energy prices. Yet, its closure removed 800 megawatts of clean energy from Michigan’s grid, highlighting a significant loss.

Experts stress the urgency of ceasing greenhouse gas emissions by mid-century to combat climate change effects like floods, wildfires, and diminishing winter seasons. Transitioning away from coal and natural gas is crucial in this regard.

A decision worth reconsidering 

The decision to shut down Palisades, a plant that didn’t emit these harmful gases, seems counterproductive to climate goals.

Palisades previously supplied about 10% of the peak electricity required by Consumers Energy. Post-closure, this demand was met using fossil fuel sources, raising concerns.

The proposal to allocate more funds to Palisades has led the Michigan Environmental Council, once a supporter of the plant’s operation, to reassess their stance.

Charlotte Jameson, a leading figure at the council, expressed concerns that the budget allocation for Palisades, coupled with cuts to public transportation funding, suggests a lack of commitment to addressing environmental and community health issues in Michigan.

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A spokesperson for the U.S. Department of Energy has not confirmed the potential $1.5 billion federal loan for Palisades, describing any claims about it as speculative.

William Hath
William Hath
William, reporting for US News Hub from Washington DC, specializes in federal government accountability and transparency. His investigative efforts to unveil the inner workings of government operations and his dedication to challenging authority align with our goal of delivering in-depth and reliable news to our readers.

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