News Story

For Palisades nuclear plant, there will be a future

Nuclear plant in southwest Michigan will power 17% of the homes in the state

Michigan’s energy supply took a step toward reliability this week with the announcement that Palisades nuclear plant will resume operations. 

If and when Palisades gets back online, it will be the first nuclear plant in America to be taken offline and returned to active use. Right now, Palisades still appears on the “decommissioning” section of the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission website. Its owner, Holtec International, is known for decommissioning retired nuclear plants.

What changed was the announcement of a $1.5 billion conditional loan from the U.S. Department of Energy’s Loan Programs Office.

“Reopening Palisades is a great first step in expanding energy sources that Michigan residents can rely on at all times, not just when the sun shines and the wind blows,” said Jason Hayes, director of energy and environmental policy at the Mackinac Center for Public Policy. “The loan from the federal government is an attempt to right a wrong that was caused by intrusive government policies. Energy sources should compete on a transparent and level playing field, free from government handouts and interference.”

Though the plant was taken offline in May 2022, it is licensed to operate through 2031, per the nuclear regulatory commission. The Biden administration says the plant will be upgraded to run through at least 2051, pending approval of the regulatory body.

Former Michigan Gov. Jennifer Granholm, now the U.S. Secretary of Energy, said in a statement that “nuclear power is our single largest source of carbon free electricity.”

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer noted that the plant will power roughly 800,000 homes. U.S. Census data indicate there is 4.6 million housing units in Michigan. Palisades alone will power 17% of the housing in Michigan.

Michigan Capitol Confidential is the news source produced by the Mackinac Center for Public Policy. Michigan Capitol Confidential reports with a free-market news perspective.