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.
- 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 4: May and June, 2017
Those of us who attended the two hearings in Lawrence (see April 7 announcement on page 3) agree that public comments ran about 10-to-1 in favor of closing Palisades. The few pro-Palisades comments expressed mostly resignation and anxiety. Commenters on both sides of the question were deeply concerned about lost jobs and lost tax revenue. Media coverage was extensive:
- WWMT NewsChannel 3’s report on the 3:00 meeting
- WWMT NewsChannel 3’s more extensive coverage recapped both meetings.
- Bradenton Herald
- Western Michigan University’s WMUK Radio
- WIN 98.5 Radio in Battle Creek
- Utility Dive
- WOOD TV-8 in Grand Rapids
- News-Talk Radio 94.9 WJSM in St. Joseph
- St. Joseph-Benton Harbor Herald Palladium
Administrative Law Judge Sharon Feldman is presiding in the case. She said that the case is in its discovery phase. Parties are sharing information with each other. Cross examination is scheduled for June 13-16 at MPSC’s Lansing office. The public may attend but not participate, and the courtroom will be cleared of spectators when testimony touches on confidential matters.
A transcript of the May 8 Michigan Public Service Commission’s public hearing has been posted to the online docket.
Entergy has released a PowerPoint document that (kind-of) explains its shutdown and decommissioning plans for Palisades, Pilgrim, and Indian Point reactors 1 and 2. The plan, dated June 20, was made available to the public in late May. The document says what Entergy has done toward shutting down Palisades – a “Certified Fuel Handler Training and Retraining Program” – and presents a timetable for when they will submit their license amendment requests to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission and ask for certain exemptions.
Among the 148 filings so far in MPSC’s Consumers/Entergy case are a total of ten documents labeled “Testimony & Exhibits” – about 1100 pages worth. Two other documents labeled “Exhibits” have been filed, both by Consumers. All documents except these two are available to the public.
The Nuclear Regulatory Commission has announced a public meeting to discuss Entergy’s decommissioning plans for five of its nuclear reactors, including Palisades. You can attend the meeting by phone or in person at NRC’s Rockville, MD, office from 10 AM to noon June 20. The public call-in number is 888-463-8173; passcode is 32943#. Click here to see the PowerPoint presentation Entergy will use at the meeting.
June 7 was the deadline for intervenors to submit written testimony in the Consumers/Entergy/MPSC Palisades case. With oral cross-examination of the testimony scheduled to begin Tuesday, June 13, participants in the case continue to submit discovery requests. While MPSC aims for an August ruling in the case, their request for comments from the public still stands.
Address your written comment to MPSC:
Executive Secretary, Michigan Public Service Commission
7109 West Saginaw Street
Lansing, Michigan, 48917.
Or email your comment to email@example.com.
IMPORTANT: Letters and emails should reference MPSC Case No. U-18250.
Your comment, of course, can talk about Palisades being unsafe and scary; but this case is specifically about whether MPSC will allow Consumers to pay Entergy to get out of the last four years of their power purchase agreement, and how Consumers will finance the buyout.
Cross examination is scheduled for June 13 through June 16 at MPSC’s office, 7109 Saginaw Street, Lansing. The public may attend, but only to observe. When confidential issues come up, the audience must leave the courtroom.
Our Palisades Chronology Page 5 includes the news that MPSC has extended its own deadline for ruling in the case, reports on meetings and planning sessions, and a report of our special program on decommissioning.
The Palisades shutdown working group held a meeting June 17 in South Haven to discuss strategy. Plans will depend on MPSC’s ruling in the case and what we learn as we go along. MPSC plans to announce its decision in August. The group allocated interim projects and scheduled its next meeting for August 19, to allow MPSC leeway on its self-imposed deadline and to allow ourselves time to consider the proper response to MPSC’s ruling.
On June 20, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission held a meeting at its Rockville, MD, HQ. Parties interested in the four Entergy sites that have been shut down or are scheduled to close were invited to attend in person or by conference call. The topic was decommissioning plans. Entergy gave a PowerPoint presentation (available here). “Decommissioning discussion goes off track” reported the Cape Cod Times, as people “peppered federal regulators and Entergy representatives with a long list of questions they had not come prepared to answer.” A report from Greenfield Recorder on the meeting dealt almost exclusively with high-level nuclear waste, which is “likely to be kept at nuke plants.” Michigan Safe Energy Future will hold a much more informative meeting on decommissioning Thursday evening, July 13, at Lake Michigan College South Haven Campus.
End of Palisades Chronology, Page 9 (more to come)
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.