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 page 3 covers from mid-February to the end of March, 2017.
- Page 1 begins with the July, 2016, controversy about falsified security reports, and continues through Sierra Club Southwest Michigan Group’s January 12, 2017, adoption of its resolution supporting the Palisades shutdown.
- Page 2 goes from mid-January, 2017, up to MPSC’s mid-February announcement that it would hold its first public hearing in the case on March 9.
- Page 3 carries our Palisades Chronology to the end of March and the disclosure that Palisades may not be able to handle a tornado.
- Page 4 runs from the beginning of April through June 9 – meeting reports, case updates.
- Page 5 ends with 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 recaps a Palisades “Event Report” and the July 26 Open House, with more to come.
- Page 7 goes from the August 17 report that Palisades fixed its tornado problem to a September 26 news release about MPSC’s ruling on Consumers’ PPA buyout plan.
- Page 8 picks up on September 28 with the announcement that Palisades won’t close in October 2018 as previously announced.
On December 9, 2016, the day after the Palisades shutdown news release, The Herald Palladium published a comprehensive timeline covering “Palisades’ rocky history.” The timeline begins a few months before the January 28, 1966, headline that hailed a new “$100 million electrical plant.” The March, 1973, timeline entry reports that “after eight years and $170 million,” Palisades got the okay to operate at full power. The Palladium’s Palisades chronology ends with the August, 2016, announcement that Anthony Vitale, who’d been in charge at Palisades for five years, was being replaced. We started our palisades chronology in mid-July, 2016 – a month before Entergy named a new boss at Palisades.
Palisades Chronology Page 3
Our Palisades Chronology Page 3 goes from mid-February, 2017, to the disclosure at the end of March that Palisades wasn’t designed to withstand a tornado.
Paw Paw based Two Rivers Coalition sent a letter to MPSC in support of the Palsiades shutdown. The letter calls the closing and decommissioning of the plant “important for the environmental well-being of the region.” MPSC filed TRC’s letter with the case MPSC had closed nearly four weeks earlier.
Van Buren County has started planning its adjustment to Palisades’ closing. The Paw Paw Courier-Leader reports creation of the Joint Adjustment Committee. Public and private-sector members of the committee will help “alleviate the impact of the plant’s Oct. 1, 2018, closing.”
Residential Customer Group filed a motion in the case MPSC had closed on January 20. RCG asked that the closed case be reconsidered, reheard, clarified, and reopened.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
End of Palisades Chronology, Page 3
Quicklinks to our Palisades Chronology pages
- Page 1 starts with the Palisades timeline – day one to December 8, 2016 – published in The Herald Palladium and takes us to mid-January and SWMG’s adoption of its Palisades Shutdown Resolution.
- Page 2 provides an expert’s translation of Consumers Energy’s 99-page response to MPSC’s list of questions and info on other financial concerns.
- Page 3 looks at local issues and comments from mid-February and ends with the March 30 disclosure that Palisades was not designed to withstand a tornado.
- Page 4 reports on several public meetings held from April to early June, 2017, and has several updates in MPSC’s case, including info on how to send comments to MPSC.
- Page 5 goes from mid-June to the presentation Bette Pierman organized, with Chris Williams from Vermont warning us about what to watch for when Palisades goes into its decommissioning phase.
- Page 6 has an “Event Report” from Entergy two months after the fact, a very-next-day report from Kraig Schultz on the July 26 Palisades Open House, and more to come.
- Page 7 starts with the August 17 report that Palisades fixed its tornado problem, explains MPSC’s ruling on Consumers’ plan to pay Entergy to cancel the final four years of their power purchase agreement, and ends with a September 26 news release about the ruling.
- Page 8 picks up on September 28 with the announcement that Palisades won’t close in October 2018 as previously announced. More to follow.