News about Palisades – from “rocky history” to shutdown announcement, reversal, and beyond
Editor’s note: Updates 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 4 goes from early April to mid-June, 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 4
Our Palisades Chronology Page 4 goes from the beginning of April, 2017, to our June 9 recap of the case, and info on how to send your comments to MPSC.
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:
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.
Those of us who attended the two hearings in Lawrence (see above) 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.
End of Palisades Chronology, Page 4
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.