The federal government intends to offer a $1.5 billion loan to Holtec International to restart Michigan’s Palisades Nuclear plant, according to a new report from Bloomberg News.
In early 2023, Holtec applied with the U.S. Department of Energy’s Loan Programs Office for federal loan funding to repower Palisades, an 800 MW plant in Covert Township, Michigan. Holtec had acquired the plant in June 2022 just after it was shutdown.
The Biden Administration has expressed support for extending the lives or even restarting large nuclear plants. These facilities have been retiring over the last decade because of competition from cheaper natural gas and renewables.
There is currently a $6 billion fund aimed at supporting the continued operation of U.S. nuclear plants or the reviving of already closed ones. The Civil Nuclear Credit (CNC) Program was born out of the infrastructure bill signed into law in November 2021.
Any restart of Palisades is contingent on federal dollars coming through. Holtec officials have been quoted as saying it would take hundreds of millions of dollars for facility renovations and to buy nuclear fuel.
Holtec will officially be offered the loan as soon as next month, sources told Bloomberg.
A spokesperson with Holtec would not confirm or deny Bloomberg’s reporting.
“We hope for a timely approval of our loan application to bring the plant back to full power operation toward the end of 2025,” the spokesperson said. “We will not speculate on anticipated timing but are hopeful to hear a favorable decision in the near future.”
In May 2023 a bipartisan group of Michigan lawmakers that make up a newly-formed nuclear energy caucus wrote a letter to Gov. Gretchen Whitmer expressing “full support” for the re-opening of Palisades.
Whitmer herself has supported reopening Palisades, a carbon-free baseload generating source as more solar and wind power infrastructure is built out.
Michigan also included $150 million to restart the plant in its latest budget passed in June 2023.
In September 2023, Holtec and Wolverine Power Cooperative announced the signing of a long-term power purchase agreement, where Wolverine would purchase up to two-thirds of the power generated by Palisades for its Michigan-based member rural electric cooperatives. Indiana-based Hoosier Energy, another G&T Cooperative, would purchase the rest.
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