Following the Department of Energy’s decision to offer $1.5 billion to reopen Michigan’s shuttered Palisades Nuclear plant, Holtec announced it has reached several milestones, including re-establishing the plant’s workforce, revitalizing training programs, procurement of plant systems and components, regulatory developments, and firming up of funding streams.

Palisades is on track to become the U.S.’ first shut-down nuclear power plant to be recommissioned. The 800 MW facility in Covert Township would be upgraded to produce baseload power until at least 2051, subject to U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) licensing approvals. 

Holtec said more than 360 employees now work at the plant, an increase of nearly 150 personnel since the re-start began. The recruitment includes both former plant employees and new hires.

For its training program, Holtec has reconstituted its control room simulator and restored its operator training program. The company said 26 Palisades Licensed Operators are currently completing requalification classes to maintain their federal operating licenses and two initial Operator classes are in session, with a third Operator class in the pipeline to begin later this year.

Holtec is also undertaking plant work, including refurbishment of the generator exciter and restoration of the reactor vessel’s operational integrity in preparation for a deep chemical cleaning of the plant’s reactor cooling system. In the near future, Holtec said it will conduct an inspection of the reactor vessel internals and steam generators, along with long-term investments in preventive maintenance, equipment repairs, replacements, upgrades, and modifications.

Holtec says it has made “significant” progress in the regulatory space towards reauthorization of extended operations, including submitting five of the major licensing submittals to the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC).

Holtec acquired the plant in June 2022 just after it was shutdown. In early 2023, the company for federal loan funding to repower Palisades. Palisades is the first project to be offered a conditional commitment through the Energy Infrastructure Reinvestment (EIR) program from the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA). EIR can finance projects that retool, repower, repurpose, or replace energy infrastructure that has ceased operations or enable operating energy infrastructure to avoid, reduce, utilize, or sequester air pollutants or greenhouse gas emissions.

In addition to the main 800 MW reactor, Holtec intends to use the Palisades site as the location for its first two small modular reactor units, which would potentially add an additional 800 MW of generation capacity at the site.

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