How to reopen a nuclear energy plant

Step 2: Line up cash and permission

Support 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 Department of Energy has issued a conditional mortgage dedication for $1.52 billion.

Holtec might want to meet sure technical and authorized circumstances to get the mortgage cash, which can ultimately be repaid with curiosity. (Holtec and the DOE Loan Programs Office declined to offer extra details about the mortgage’s circumstances or timeline.)

The state funding and federal mortgage will assist help the fixes and upgrades wanted for the plant’s gear and proceed paying the roughly 200 employees 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 employees to assist with the restart, Culp says.  

One of the most important query marks remaining round a doable Palisades restart is getting authorization from regulators. The Nuclear Regulatory Commission oversees nuclear energy vegetation within the US, however the company doesn’t have a longtime pathway for reauthorization of a earlier plant. “We’re breaking new floor right here,” says Jacopo Buongiorno, a professor of nuclear engineering at MIT. 

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: Profit?

If regulators log off, the plan is to have Palisades up and operating once more by the tip 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 properly, the plant may very well be producing energy till a minimum of 2051, 80 years after it initially started operations.

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