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    Allegan County expresses support for plan to reopen Palisades Nuclear Plant

    January 31, 2023 - Mitchell Boatman, The Holland Sentinel


      ALLEGAN COUNTYThe Allegan County Board of Commissioners has expressed support for Holtec International's bid for federal funding to reopen the Palisades Nuclear Plant.

      The board unanimously approved a resolution in support of reopening the plant during a meeting Thursday, Jan. 26. Holtec announced in December it was planning a second application to the Department of Energy's Civil Nuclear Credit Program for funds to restart the plant.

      Jim Storey, board chair, said during Thursday's meeting Holtec was planning to apply soon and wanted to have evidence of community support. Holtec is "on track to file" the application, according to Nick Culp, senior manager of government affairs and communications.

      More:Holtec plans second attempt to reopen shuttered Palisades Nuclear Plant

      More:Application to reopen Palisades Nuclear Plant denied

      "We are encouraged by the public support we have received, recognizing the benefits of this effort to provide Michigan with a safe, reliable source of carbon-free electricity while supporting jobs and the regional economy," Culp wrote in an email.

      The resolution cites Palisades' employment and economic impact, power generation and carbon reductions as reasons for supporting the plan.

      "Palisades provided 600 full-time, highly skilled, and good-paying jobs in Southwest Michigan, which were supplemented by the influx of an additional 1,000 specialty workers into the community to support scheduled refueling and maintenance outages," the resolution reads.

      "Palisades was one of the largest taxpayers in the region, directly supporting local public school districts, Lake Michigan College, public libraries and vital municipal services."

      The resolution also cites a study by the University of Michigan that found the shutdown of the plant resulted in an annual loss of $259 million in "labor income and value-added" for the region.

      The Van Buren County Board of Commissioners passed a similar resolution during its Jan. 24 meeting. Palisades is located in Van Buren County.

      The plant closed in May 2022 after more than 50 years in operation. In late June, it was sold to Holtec for decommissioning. Holtec applied for CNC funding in early July to reopen the plant. The application was made public in September, with support from Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, but was denied in mid-November.

      In December, Holtec announced it would apply for the second round of CNC funding when the application window opened.

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      "We do feel we have a better idea, based on feedback, what DOE expects in an application," Pat O'Brien, director of government affairs and communication at Holtec, wrote in a December statement. "When round one was open, we acquired the plant four days before the application period closed. We have much more time to put together the package this time in a thorough fashion."

      Holtec has acknowledged there will be "a number of hurdles" to reopening the plant even if CNC funding is secured. Those include financial commitment from the state, maintenance and delayed capital improvements of the facility, procuring a power purchase agreement, upgrading the switchyard, partnering with a licensed operator for the restart and rehiring qualified and trained staff.

      — Contact reporter Mitchell Boatman at Follow him on Twitter @SentinelMitch.


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