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 8 picks up on September 28 with the announcement that Palisades won’t close in October 2018 as previously announced.
- 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 8
Our Palisades Chronology Page 8 begins with the September 28 announcement from Entergy that the Michigan Public Service Commission ruling means a change of plans for Palisades.
An Entergy news release announced that, in light of last week’s Michigan Public Service Commission ruling, it has cancelled its plan to close Palisades.
In December of 2016, Entergy Nuclear and Consumers Energy reached a privately negotiated agreement whereby Consumers would pay Entergy $172 million dollars to cancel the final four years of their 15-year power purchase agreement. The PPA was part of the 2007 transaction that sold Consumers’ Palisades plant to Entergy. On September 22, 2017, MPSC ruled that Consumers could pay Entergy only $136 million to extricate itself from the PPA. Under the plan announced last December, the PPA would have terminated in October, 2018, costing Palisades its only customer, and Entergy would close the plant. Instead, Entergy has decided that it could not accept a $36-million reduction in its asking price to cancel the PPA. Entergy will hold Consumers to the terms of the PPA, and Palisades will continue to operate. Entergy’s license to operate the plant expires in April, 2022.
Despite its refusal to accept $136 million to terminate the PPA, “Entergy remains committed to its strategy of exiting the merchant nuclear power business,” according to its news release. Over the past few years, Entergy has sold off, or closed, or announced the closing of several of its nuclear plants.
In a news release from Beyond Nuclear, Kevin Kamps likened Entergy’s decision to a hostage situation. “The hostage takers demanded a ransom from ratepayers. MPSC did not agree to the full amount demanded. So the hostage takers have refused to release the hostages.”
A news release from Sierra Club Michigan Chapter called Entergy’s decision to keep Palisades operating “confounding,” especially in light of the fact that the very news release that announced its decision not to close the plant reiterated Entergy’s several-year-old stance that the company “remains committed to its strategy of exiting the merchant nuclear power business.”
Other media reports:
- September 28, Mlive: Entergy plans to keep Palisades nuclear plant operating through 2022
- September 28, Michigan Radio: Palisades Power Plant will not close early after all
- September 28, Midwest Energy News: Palisades nuclear plant in Michigan to shut down in 2022
- September 28, VAN 92.7, Holland, Michigan: Mixed Reaction to Palisades Announcement
- September 28, Michigan Agency for Energy: Prepare now for 2022 closing
- September 29, The Herald Palladium: More prep time for economic blow
- September 30, News/Talk 94.9 WSJM, Benton Harbor: Sierra Club Slams Palisades Decision
- September 30, Forbes: Palisades Nuclear Plant Will Continue Operating Through 2022
Research by Michael Keegan of Don’t Waste Michigan has turned up a long history of physical plant security and cyber security amendments and exemptions requested and granted for Palisades, as detailed in these official U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission reports going back seven years.
- March 25, 2010 – Exemption request for a delay in full implementation of certain requirements regarding “physical protection of plants and materials.”
- March 25, 2010 – Above exemption request granted.
- May 28, 2010 – Request for license amendment regarding cyber security sent back to Entergy with questions to be answered
- July 26, 2010 – Withdrew amendment request and asked for another
- April 4, 2011 – Answers to questions and request for another license amendment
- May 9, 2011 – Cyber security amendment granted
- July 28, 2011 – Informed of new cyber security license amendment
- January 22, 2013 – Major revisions to site emergency plan
- December 30, 2013 – NRC Internal Memorandum, “Enhanced Guidance For Licensee Near-Term Corrective Actions To Address Cyber Security Inspection Findings”
- February 10, 2014 – NRC acceptance of delay in Palisades Cyber Security Plan Implementation Schedule
- April 30, 2014 – Request for more information about delay in Palisades Cyber Security Plan Implementation Schedule
- May 22, 2014 – Entergy’s response to request for more information about delay in Palisades Cyber Security Plan Implementation Schedule
- August 21, 2014 – NRC granted Entergy’s license amendment request for a delay in Palisades Cyber Security Plan Implementation Schedule
- December 8, 2014 – NRC specified that the license amendment allows the Palisades Cyber Security Plan Implementation to be delayed until June 30, 2016.
- December 18, 2014 – Entergy requests a license amendment to revise fire safety standards
- February 27, 2015 – NRC grants license amendment revising fire safety standards
- June 11, 2015 – Entergy license amendment request asks for delay in full implementation of Cyber Security Plan until December 15, 2017
- March 30, 2017 – Entergy license amendment request asks for delay in full implementation of Cyber Security Plan until December 15, 2017, to account for transition to a decommissioned plant.
- May 10, 2017 – NRC grants Entergy’s license amendment request asks for delay in full implementation of Cyber Security Plan until December 15, 2017, to account for transition to a decommissioned plant.
End of Palisades Chronology, Page 8
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. It ends with a September 30 report detailing seven years of security exemptions granted.