Palisades nuclear plant in Michigan shut down 11 days earlier than planned.

Control room operators removed the 805 MW plant’s nuclear reactor from service on May 20. The plant was originally scheduled to permanently shut down on May 31.

Entergy said operators made the decision to shut down the plant early due to the performance of a control rod drive seal. After used fuel is removed from the reactor, the facility will be transferred to Holtec International for decommissioning, per an agreement approved by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) in December 2021. The license transfer is scheduled for this summer.

Holtec’s filings detail its plan to complete the dismantling, decontamination, and remediation of Palisades to NRC standards by 2041. That is more than 40 years sooner than if Entergy continued to own the facility and selected the maximum 60-year NRC SAFSTOR option for decommissioning.

The shutdown of Palisades coincides with the expiration of the plant’s 15-year power purchase agreement with Consumers Energy. The retirement was first announced in 2017.

Following the retirement announcement in 2017, Entergy made several commitments to plant employees. Any employee willing to relocate to another Entergy facility would be provided a job, if they were qualified.

The utility said approximately 130 employees accepted a job offer within the company’s southern service territory. As part of Entergy’s agreement with Holtec International, the new owner of the plant post-shutdown will hire approximately 260 current Palisades employees for the first phase of decommissioning.

Approximately 180 employees at Palisades will separate from the company, Entergy said. More than half of those employees are retirement eligible.

Palisades, which began commercial operation in 1971, generated about 800 MW at capacity.

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