Biden Administration to Provide $1.5 Billion Loan to Reopen Michigan Nuclear Power Plant, a First in the US

By Trisha Andrada

Mar 28, 2024 08:04 AM EDT

Officials in southwestern Michigan announced Wednesday that a nuclear power plant will be revived with a $1.5 billion loan from the Biden administration.

Biden Administration Supports Restarting of Michigan Nuclear Power Plant

According to Fox News, Holtec International plans to dismantle the 800-megawatt Palisades plant it bought in 2022. However, with backing from the Michigan state and the federal government, the focus has shifted to getting it back up and running by the end of 2025.

The Detroit News reported that Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm announced the funding to Palisades employees and supporters in a Wednesday morning event held at the plant's dry fuel storage building.

Granholm and Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer, who was also at the event, said the facility's reopening will help the state and country meet climate goals and return hundreds of jobs to southwest Michigan.

"Nuclear power is our single largest source of carbon-free electricity, directly supporting 100,000 jobs across the country and hundreds of thousands more indirectly," Granholm told the crowd.

"By our estimates, to reach our net-zero goals by 2050 we need to triple, at least, our nuclear energy supply... This is a big win for America, a big win for the nation," she added.

While not renewable energy, nuclear power plants do not emit greenhouse gases like fossil fuel plants do. According to Holtec spokesman Patrick O'Brien, finalizing the financial deal with the government will take four to five months. He clarified that the fund is a loan, and the firm must repay it.

Read Also: Biden Administration Relieves $6 Billion in Student Debt for 78,000 Public Service Workers

(Photo : Jason Blackeye on Unsplash)

Michigan Nuclear Power Plant to Be the First Nuclear Power Plant to Reopen in the US

Gretchen Whitmer said the Michigan nuclear power plant would be the first nuclear power plant to be reopened in the US. However, Fox News reported that despite the support it gets from the Biden administration and state government, it still faces some challenges, including inspections, testing, and the approval of the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC).

Located along Lake Michigan, the Palisades facility, which could generate electricity to supply 800,000 homes, is two hours away from Chicago. Its operation started in 1971, when a Michigan utility, CMS Energy, still owned the plant.

In 2007, the plant was sold to Louisiana-based Entergy Nuclear before being shut down in May 2022. Holtec took over the plant later that same year. According to Holtec, the company currently has long-term commitments from two electric cooperatives, Wolverine Power and Hoosier Energy, to purchase power from the plant.

Holtec president and chief executive Kris Singh noted that the reopening of Palisades "will restore safe, around-the-clock generation to hundreds of thousands of households, businesses and manufacturers."

However, Fox News reported that a coalition is opposing restarting the plant it mockingly refers to as a "zombie reactor." The group has already requested a hearing at the NRC.

Read More: Biden Administration Supercharges Intel's Semiconductor Chip Output with $20 Billion Grant

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