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 1: from the June, 1965, beginning to the end of 2016.
Timeline: Palisades Rocky History
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.
Kalamazoo’s WWMT TV Channel 3 reports that “several” security officers are on paid leave as Palisades investigates “anomalies” – more specifically, falsified reporting. Following up on an anonymous tip from a Palisades employee, WWMT learned that the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission is “closely monitoring the plant’s investigation as well as the plant’s response to the situation.” When a WWMT reporter asked why the public had not been notified of the investigation, an NRC spokesperson “said the commission had no obligation to notify media.”
The “several” security staffers on paid administrative leave turns out to be 22 officers – including the anonymous tipster – as the remaining guards work 75-hour weeks. The FBI is now involved in the investigation, according to this report from Beyond Nuclear.
According to an update from WWMT Channel 3, “Palisades officials first became aware of the fire tour anomalies in early June.” NRC officials failed to mention this investigation in their June 23 Palisades review.
WWMT Channel 3 says the security officers’ union at Palisades will file a grievance if its officers face discipline. The grievance will cite “no set guidelines” and a lack of training. A Palisades spokesperson says “most” of the officers on paid leave have returned to work.
News Talk Radio 94.9 WSJM in Benton Harbor has learned that Entergy Vice President Anthony Vitale, who’s been in charge at Palisades since 2011, has been transferred to a different Entergy nuclear plant. The new chief, Charles Arnone, has twice been in charge of safety assurance at Palisades.
Maybe false, inaccurate, and delayed reporting is standard procedure for Entergy. An Entergy report correcting a false report was also false, according to Ed Bradley, Plymouth, Massachusets, Fire Chief. Bradley said that several other communications from Entergy about “odd events” at its Pilgrim nuclear plant also have been late, false, or both. Last May, Entergy was charged with submitting false reports about its Vermont Yankee plant. Here in Southwest Michigan, the investigation into false reporting at Entergy’s Palisades plant, which began in early June, was not mentioned during a June 23 NRC Palisades review. It remained unreported to the public until July 8 when a whistleblower approached WWMT Channel 3 in Kalamazoo.
Entergy and Consumers say Palisades will close permanently October 1, 2018, according to news releases Thursday morning, December 8. Entergy Nuclear is the corporate owner-operator of Palisades. Consumers Energy is the plant’s only customer. MLive published Entergy’s news release and followed up with a more detailed report. WOOD-TV 8 reported that “the age of nuclear power in Michigan appears to be coming to a close.” The purchase agreement was originally planned to last through 2022. In 2011, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission granted Palisades a license renewal that allowed the 45-year-old, dangerously embrittled plant to operate until 2031.
- “Permanent Palisades Shut Down Announcement: For anti-nuke activists, a celebration. Then what?“
- Midwest Energy News calls a Palisades bailout unlikely.
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.