Palisades chronology: “Palisades’ rocky history” covers 52 years and counting. This is page 3.

News about Palisades – from “rocky history” to shutdown announcement, reversal, and beyond

Editor’s note: News about Palisades Nuclear Generating Station took so much space on our News Page that we decided to put it somewhere else. Our Palisades Chronology now takes up nine pages.

Palisades chronology

  • Page 1 begins with a link to “Timeline: Palisades’ rocky history” published in The Herald Palladium on December 9 and goes to the end of 2016.
  • Page 2 covers January and February, 2017, including MPSC closing its initial case in the matter and opening a new one.
  • Page 3 brings our Palisades news up to date on plant problems in March and April, up to news about a November tritium tritium leak that wasn’t made public until it was buried in a routine NRC report on April 28.
  • Page 4 starts with a report on MPSC’s public hearing in Lawrence and goes through June, 2017.
  • Page 5, July, Part 1 – news on the MPSC legal case and a report on the July 13 program that Bette Pierman organized with Chris Williams, who shared what he’s learned watching the decommissioning at Entergy’s Vermont Yankee plant.
  • Page 6, July, Part 2 – a Palisades “Event Report,” an NRC investigation, and the July 26 Open House.
  • Page 7 goes from the August 17 report that Palisades fixed its tornado problem to the September 26 MPSC news release about its ruling on Consumers’ PPA buyout plan.
  • Page 8 – the last three days of September: Entergy’s decision, reactions, and a seven-year list of security amendments.
  • Page 9 – news on how Southwest Michigan is adjusting, Entergy’s license amendment requests, more to come.

Palisades Chronology Page 3: March and April, 2017

March 3

The following groups have filed documents in the Palisades case that MPSC opened on February 10:

  • Consumers Energy (seven documents totalling 872 pages plus a confidential document.)
  • Administrative Law Judges Division, scheduling a March 9 hearing.
  • Michigan Public Service Commission.
  • The Association of Businesses Advocating Tariff Equity (ABATE).
  • The Michigan Environmental Council (MEC).
  • Residential Customer Group.
  • Special Litigation Unit of the state Attorney General’s office.
  • Entergy Nuclear Palisades, LLC. and Entergy Nuclear Power Marketing, LLC.

The case appears primarily concerned with how Consumers plans to finance the power purchase agreement buyout it negotiated with Entergy.

March 9

MPSC held its first hearing on the plan to close Palisades nuclear plant. Sierra Club was there with two public comments. Click here to see our report. Official transcript of the hearing is available here.

March 16

NRC has told Palisades to perform a steam generator tube inspection during its upcoming refueling outage. NRC will schedule a conference call with Palisades officials to get the answers to a series of questions.

March 20

Nuclear Regulatory Commission reports Palisades at zero power production. There was a forced shutdown due to leakage on a control rod drive mechanism seal. This comes a few weeks ahead of a scheduled refueling shutdown originally planned for April.

March 28

The Michigan Public Service Commission denied the motion filed by Residential Customer Group on February 21 asking that the closed case be reconsidered, reheard, clarified, and reopened.

March 29

Palisades Chronology page 3 poster explains cooling tower replacement.

Poster that explains the cooling tower replacement. Click to enlarge.

The first Palisades Open House since Entergy and Consumers announced their shutdown plan was held in Benton Harbor. Barbara Pellegrini and Kraig Schultz of Michigan Safe Energy Future and Jan Boudart of Nuclear Energy Information Service were there. Barbara reports that “a public bail-out is not likely” because Entergy’s corporate strategy is to get out of the wholesale power business. We also learned that the second of two cooling towers is being replaced during the refueling shutdown. The first was replaced in 2012. Click here for a full report.

March 30

Palisades officials have notified the NRC that the plant is not ready for a tornado. “Event Number 52647” reports that “conditions in the plant design” make Palisades “not adequately protected from tornado missiles.” The list of vulnerable components:

  • Service Water System
  • Fuel Oil Transfer System
  • Emergency Diesel Generators
  • Control Room Heating, Ventilation, and Cooling System
  • Steam Driven Auxiliary Feedwater Pump
  • Component Cooling Water System

After 44 years of operating while vulnerable to tornadoes, the plant must survive two more tornado seasons before it shuts down.

April 7

The Michigan Public Service Commission has scheduled two public meetings for May 8 in Lawrence. Afternoon (3-5 PM) and evening (6-8 PM) meetings well be held at:

Van Buren Conference Center
490 South Paw Paw Street
Lawrence, Michigan 49064

There will be a five-minute limit per public comment. Submit written comments to:

Executive Secretary, Michigan Public Service Commission
7109 West Saginaw Street
Lansing, Michigan, 48917

You may also comment by email. Letters and emails should reference MPSC Case No. U-18250. More details here.

April 28

In a section buried in a routine report to the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, Entergy admitted to a serious tritium leak at Palisades about which “in-house NRC personnel” were informed, but which Entergy officials apparently didn’t officially submit as an incident report to NRC. A paragraph on page seven of a 191-page April 28, 2017, report says of the November 2, 2016, incident:

On November 2, 2016, as a result of routine monitoring well sampling, PNP [Palisades Nuclear Plant] identified tritium in Monitoring Well 11, located within the plant protected area. The concentration of tritium detected was 9730 picocuries per liter. In-house NRC personnel were notified of the event and updated with the most recent sample results throughout the monitoring period. PNP identified the source of tritium was from T-91 (Utility Water Storage Tank) and promptly emptied and secured T-91 on November 22,2016. Residual tritium was expected to be still retained in the groundwater and therefore a frequent sampling schedule was implemented. Between November 2,2016, and December 27,2016, the maximum concentration of tritium detected in Monitoring Well 11 was 112,818 pCi/L and the average concentration of tritium detected in Monitoring Well 11 was 47,000 pCi/L. By the end of December the concentration of tritium in Monitoring Well 11 had fallen to less than detectable limits «593 pCi/L). The maximum quantity of tritium released during this abnormal discharge was 1.05 Curies.

Thanks to Dave Cordell for the heads-up on this.

End of Palisades Chronology, Page 3

Quicklinks to our Palisades Chronology pages

  • Page 1 – day one, June, 1965, to the end of 2016
  • Page 2– January and February, 2017.
  • Page 3 – March and April, 2017.
  • Page 4 – May and June, 2017.
  • Page 5 – Early to mid July, 2017.
  • Page 6 – Mid to late July, 2017.
  • Page 7 – August, 2017, through September 26.
  • Page 8 – The last three days of September, 2017.
  • Page 9 – October, 2017.

See also our blog posts on Palisades and nuclear energy.

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