FAQs

  • How long will it take to decommission Palisades?

    As stated in the Palisades Post-Shutdown Decommissioning Activities Report (PSDAR), Holtec plans to decommission Palisades (with the exception of the Independent Spent Fuel Storage Installation) within 19 years of the plant’s 2022 shutdown. That projection is more than four decades sooner than the full 60 years allowed by the federal government for decommissioning. The decommissioning of Palisades adheres to both federal and state cleanup standards and is conducted under the watchful oversight of the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC).

  • How can Holtec complete the Palisades decommissioning in the scheduled timeframe?

    Part of decommissioning is moving the spent nuclear fuel from storage in the spent fuel pool to the dry storage facility called an Independent Spent Fuel Storage Installation (or ISFSI), which used to take five or more years after reactor shutdown. Holtec has dry storage systems that allow the transfer to be safely completed in less than three years. The rest of the decommissioning activities can be safely started sooner and be performed more efficiently with the spent nuclear fuel on the ISFSI.

  • What work does the Palisades decommissioning process entail?

    Decommissioning begins with the permanent removal of the plant from service, which occurred at Palisades on May 20, 2022. Experienced Palisades employees then removed all fuel from the reactor and placed it into the spent fuel pool. Defueling the Palisades reactor was completed on June 10, 2022.

    As stated in the Palisades Post-Shutdown Decommissioning Activities Report (PSDAR), Holtec plans to move the spent fuel from the Palisades spent fuel pool to dry cask storage from 2022 through 2025. The fuel will be secured and monitored on an Independent Spent Fuel Storage Installation (ISFSI), where it shall remain until such time that an interim or permanent spent fuel facility is made available by the federal government. 

    Holtec then plans to pause major decommissioning work for about ten years after the spent fuel is transferred to the ISFSI. Other decommissioning activities include removal of contaminated systems and components, demolition of buildings, and completion of site restoration. The projected date to complete decommissioning at Palisades is 2041.

  • What measures will be taken to ensure the decommissioning process is safe?

    The health and safety of our employees, the public, and the environment is our top priority. The Palisades Phase I decommissioning organization is staffed with former Palisades employees – the same nuclear professionals who operated Palisades in the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission’s (NRC) highest safety category. Palisades uses sophisticated technology to monitor all aspects of the environment in and around the plant, including air quality, soil, and water. The facility is equipped with multiple layers of backup safety equipment.

    The NRC will continue to provide independent federal oversight throughout the decommissioning process. 

  • How will materials be removed from the site during decommissioning?

    Holtec will explore all options for the safe and efficient removal of materials from the site. Once transportation decisions are finalized this will be shared with the local community. All spent fuel will remain safe and secure on site until such time that an interim or permanent spent fuel facility is made available by the federal government.

  • How can I learn about Palisades decommissioning?

    To learn more about Palisades decommissioning, visit www.palisadesdecom.com.

  • How many casks will be used to hold all of the Palisades spent nuclear fuel?

    Once all fuel has been transferred from the spent fuel pool to the Independent Spent Fuel Storage Installation, an estimated 69 casks will be used to store Palisades’s spent nuclear fuel. All spent fuel will remain safe and secure on site until such time that an interim or permanent spent fuel facility is made available by the federal government.

  • When will the Palisades spent fuel be removed from site?

    The federal government has the obligation to take receipt of used fuel located at nuclear stations across the country. At this time, there is no clear timeline for that action. Holtec has submitted its license application to build a consolidated interim storage facility for spent fuel called HI-STORE in New Mexico. Palisades’s used fuel could be relocated to this facility.

  • What changes will be made to the site’s Emergency Planning Zone (EPZ)?

    Safety and security remain our top priority at Palisades. In June 2022, Palisades moved from the Site Emergency Plan of an operational plant to the current Post Shutdown Emergency Plan (PSEP), which reflects the plant’s permanent cessation of operations and the removal of all fuel from the reactor. Pending regulatory approval, the Palisades emergency planning zone (EPZ) will be reduced to the site boundary upon the future implementation of the site’s Permanently Defueled Emergency Plan (PDEP). This allowance is determined based on careful review and consideration of scientific data related to the risks associated with a potential issue with the spent fuel pool. With the reactor no longer in operation, and the multiple defense-in-depth options to maintain adequate level in the spent fuel pool, the scientific basis for the reduction is warranted. These changes are consistent with other decommissioning plants and must be approved by the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission. Holtec will continue to work closely with its federal, state, and local emergency response partners.

  • How will Holtec keep the community informed?

    Palisades remains committed to keeping its neighbors and stakeholders well informed of significant activities. The Palisades Community Advisory Panel (PCAP) among many other federal, state, tribal, and local stakeholder groups routinely receive updates on the project. Past PCAP meetings and information can be found here

  • When does Holtec plan to submit a Post-Shutdown Decommissioning Activities Report and site-specific Decommissioning Cost Estimate?

    Every plant owner has two years from the date that a reactor permanently ceases operations to submit its Post-Shutdown Decommissioning Activities Report (PSDAR) and site-specific Decommissioning Cost Estimate (DCE) to the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC). The Palisades PSDAR and DCE were submitted to the NRC by Holtec as a supplement to the Palisades License Transfer Application. Those submittals will be formally docketed shortly after close of the Palisades transaction and license transfer from Entergy to Holtec.