Holtec International completed the acquisition of the Palisades Power Plant and the Big Rock Point site from Entergy Corporation today. This asset transfer was made possible by the license transfer approved by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) in December 2021. Under this asset transfer agreement, the sites’ ownership has been transferred to Holtec International with Holtec Decommissioning International, LLC (HDI) serving as the license holder and the prime decommissioning contractor.
Palisades, located in Covert Michigan, shutdown on May 20, 2022, after more than 50 years powering Southwest Michigan. The safe shutdown occurred after a site and world record production run of 577 straight days of operation. Following the shutdown, the team at Palisades defueled the reactor placing all the spent fuel into the plant’s spent fuel pool for safe storage.
Big Rock Point, located in Charlevoix Michigan, shutdown in 1997 and was decommissioned in the early 2000’s. Only the used fuel remains at the Big Rock Point site.
“Thanks to the professionalism, commitment-to-excellence and hard work of the 600-member team, the plant finished strong and proud, allowing us to successfully execute this transaction with Holtec on the planned date. The enduring legacy of Palisades is over 50 years of reliable clean energy generation made possible by the teamwork and diligence of thousands of men and women who operated the station since the 1970s,” said Christopher Bakken, Entergy’s Chief Nuclear Officer.
Over the past couple of years, Holtec and Palisades personnel have been working methodically on an integrated transition plan, which has laid the foundation for decommissioning of the site. The first substantial activity will be moving the plant’s used nuclear fuel from its spent fuel pool to robust transportable canisters in structurally-impregnable dry storage systems of the same vintage that is sold by Holtec to scores of nuclear plant sites around the world.
Decommissioning of Palisades will benefit from the fully implemented fleet model, called the Holtec Management Model, which envisages an integrated fleet management structure that unifies the array of safety, operation, quality assurance and management procedures/practices, which are continuously informed by the lessons learned from decommissioning activities at each Holtec-owned decommissioning site. The Palisades decommissioning project will have a 19-year timeline, with the projected completion of transfer of fuel from wet to dry storage by 2025. The balance of the dismantling and decommissioning operations shall be aligned to be conducted with full benefit of the Holtec Management Model enriched by the ongoing work at Oyster Creek, Pilgrim and Indian Point sites.
The completion of Palisades decommissioning will render the 400+ acre Michigan site fit for commercial/industrial use, except for a small parcel of land where the dry storage casks will reside under rigorous security guarded by personnel from Holtec Security International, a full-service security company headed by J. Scott Thomson, an industry leader in the fields of physical and cybersecurity. Holtec hopes to ship the multi-purpose canisters containing the used fuel to Holtec’s proposed consolidated interim storage facility in Southeastern New Mexico, called HI-STORE CISF, which is undergoing the final stage of licensing review by the USNRC. Holtec expects continuing local community support and emergence of a strong national consensus to consolidate 75 storage facilities scattered across the nation into a single state-of-the-art below-the-ground storage facility in a region that provides an incomparably better environmental conditions, safety and security than that afforded by most of the existing locales where the fuel currently resides.
Among the viable proposals for re-purposing the Big Rock Point and Palisades sites, is building Holtec’s SMR-160 advanced light water reactor, the firsts of which are scheduled to enter service in around 2030.
To follow Palisades decommissioning, visit http://www.palisadesdecom.com online.