US NewsBiden administration's $1.5 billion loan to restart closed nuclear facility

Biden administration's $1.5 billion loan to restart closed nuclear facility

Biden administration's $1.5 billion loan to restart closed nuclear facility
Images source: © GETTY | Allentown Morning Call
10:01 PM EDT, March 27, 2024, updated: 8:34 AM EDT, March 28, 2024

On Wednesday, the Biden administration revealed plans for a $1.5 billion loan to reboot a nuclear power plant in Michigan.

800-megawatt plant

In 2022, Holtec International purchased the 800-megawatt Palisades plant to dismantle it. However, with backing from the state of Michigan and the Biden administration, the focus has shifted towards reactivating it by late 2025.

Governor Gretchen Whitmer highlighted that this would mark the first reopening of a nuclear power plant in the United States. Nevertheless, the project must overcome several challenges, such as undergoing inspections, performing tests, and obtaining approval from the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC).

"Once open, Palisades will be the first successfully restarted nuclear power plant in American history, driving $363 million of regional economic impact and helping Michigan lead the future of clean energy (...) I am so grateful to my bipartisan partners in the Michigan Legislature, the Biden-Harris Administration, Holtec, and labor for coming together to complete this. Together, we are showing the world that Michigan is a place where hardworking people make history," Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer (D) said in a statement.

Located along Lake Michigan, approximately two hours away from Chicago, the Palisades plant was owned by Michigan-based CMS Energy from 1971 until its sale to Louisiana-based Entergy in 2007. The facility ceased operations in 2022.

Kris Singh, Holtec's president and CEO, stated, "The repowering of Palisades will restore safe, around-the-clock generation to hundreds of thousands of households, businesses, and manufacturers."

A "zombie reactor"?

Nonetheless, opposition has surfaced. A group against the plant's restart, referring to it dismissively as a "zombie reactor," has sought a hearing with the NRC. Patrick O'Brien, a spokesperson for Holtec, mentioned that completing the financial agreement with the government is expected to take between four and five months.

The Biden administration aims to achieve a fully renewable electricity grid by 2035. Although nuclear energy produces minimal carbon emissions, its popularity in the U.S. declined towards the end of the 20th century due to concerns over possible accidents, especially after the 1979 Three Mile Island incident.

Source: Fox News, The Hill

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