Gov. Whitmer says saving Palisades is ‘top priority’

LANSING, Mich. (WOOD) — Gov. Gretchen Whitmer says she will do everything she can to keep Palisades, a nuclear power plant in southwest Michigan, open.

On Wednesday, Whitmer wrote a letter to the U.S. Department of Energy saying it was “top priority” to keep Palisades open.

The nuclear energy facility in Covert Township employs 600 people. Whitmer wrote in her letter that Palisades is critical to regional economy and provides over 800 megawatts of clean energy, which is enough to power around 800,000 Michigan homes. It is currently licensed to operate until 2031.

The governor’s letter comes after the U.S. Department of Energy published guidance urging the federal government to use resources from the Civil Nuclear Credit program to keep the facility open. The CNC aims to prevent the premature retirement of existing nuclear plants that are still certified and safe to continue operations.

Palisades is in the process of being decommissioned because of financial distress and is scheduled to shut down May 31, when its current fuel supply runs out and power purchase agreement expires, according to the letter. Then it will be sold to Holtec Decommissioning International, with a closing date of June 30.

The governor wrote that the state has a “new path forward to save Palisades,” and that it has had conversations with the plant owner and leading nuclear operators who may be interested in buying Palisades and keeping it operational through its currently licensed date of 2031.

“I intend to do everything I can to keep this plant open, protect jobs, and expand clean energy production,” Whitmer wrote.

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