Find out how to reopen a nuclear energy plant

Step 2: Line up cash and permission

Assist has poured in for Palisades, with the state of Michigan setting apart $300 million in funding for the plant’s restart within the final two years. And now, the Division of Power has issued a conditional mortgage dedication for $1.52 billion.

Holtec might want to meet sure technical and authorized situations to get the mortgage cash, which is able to ultimately be repaid with curiosity. (Holtec and the DOE Mortgage Packages Workplace declined to offer extra details about the mortgage’s situations or timeline.)

The state funding and federal mortgage will assist assist the fixes and upgrades wanted for the plant’s gear and proceed paying the roughly 200 staff who’ve stayed on since its shutdown. The plant employed about 700 folks whereas it was working, and the corporate is now engaged on rehiring further staff to assist with the restart, Culp says.  

One of many main remaining steps in a attainable Palisades restart is getting authorization from regulators, as no plant within the US has restarted operations after shutting down. “We’re breaking new floor right here,” says Jacopo Buongiorno, a professor of nuclear engineering at MIT. 

The Nuclear Regulatory Fee oversees nuclear energy crops within the US, however the company does not have a particular regulatory framework for restarting operations at a nuclear energy plant that has shut down and entered decommissioning, White says. The NRC created a panel that can oversee reopening efforts.

Palisades successfully gave up the authorized proper to function when it shut down and took the gasoline out of the reactor. Holtec might want to submit detailed plans to the NRC with details about the way it plans to reopen and function the plant safely. Holtec formally started the method of reauthorizing operations with the NRC in October 2023 and plans to submit the remainder of its supplies this 12 months.

Step 3: Revenue?

If regulators log out, the plan is to have Palisades up and operating once more by the top of 2025. The gasoline provide is already lined up, and the corporate has long-term patrons dedicated for the plant’s full energy output, Culp says.

If all goes nicely, the plant may very well be producing energy till not less than 2051, 80 years after it initially started operations.

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