Holtec International, the owner of the Palisades nuclear power plant, has been meeting with the Nuclear Regulatory Commission as it prepares to submit an application to restart the facility. Holtec’s Patrick O’Brien tells us while the company seeks a more than $1 billion loan from the U.S. Department of Energy to restart the plant, it also has to get NRC approval.
“We have a license associated with the facility, and traditionally when you shut down, you put in a letter of permanent cessation of operations that says the plant shut down,” O’Brien said. “This is really discussing with them how we get through allowing the plant to restart and reoperate under the existing license,”
Holtec and the NRC met on Monday for the first step. NRC spokesperson Scott Burnell tells us Holtec hasn’t yet submitted a formal application, so there’s nothing for the NRC to decide at this point. However, Holtec has to lay out its vision for a restart of Palisades.
“It would be a unique situation,” Burnell said. “There hasn’t been any other instance where a nuclear power plant that permanently shut down ever received permission to restart. So, what Holtec is going to do is lay out the steps that it thinks would be appropriate to get that permission.”
Burnell says it would take a year or longer for any Palisades reactivation to come together if all goes as Holtec is hoping. Holtec applied for the DOE loan in February and expects to hear back this spring. O’Brien said the company’s meeting with the NRC Monday was “just the beginning.”