This is the last time we will hear the phrase, “Entergy’s Palisades Power Plant returned to service today, following the successful completion of its refueling and maintenance outage.” That’s because this was the final refueling and maintenance outage slated for the plant, sending electricity to the grid after a scheduled shutdown that began on August 30th. It marks the final refueling outage because, as you may recall, in 2017, Entergy announced that Palisades would close in the spring of 2022.
Darrell Corbin, Site Vice President and Entergy’s top official at Palisades, says, “Our dedicated employees and supplemental workers have worked diligently during the past several weeks to complete hundreds of tasks, inspections, and upgrades to prepare Palisades for safe and reliable operations as we enter our final cycle of electrical generation.” He adds, “Entergy’s focus remains on operating Palisades safely and reliably and we will continue to make the necessary investments into the plant.”
Entergy invested more than $86.5 million during the outage to ensure safety, security, and reliability at the facility through plant closure. The plant’s 600 full-time nuclear professionals worked with approximately 800 skilled supplemental workers to replace fuel in the reactor, as well as inspect and upgrade hundreds of pipes, pumps, electrical components, and other equipment.
Entergy says they remain committed to the safe, secure, and reliable operation of Palisades until the plant’s permanent shutdown in the spring of 2022. The utility continues to move forward with its plans for a post-shutdown sale of Palisades to a subsidiary of the U.S.-based company Holtec International for purposes of accelerated decommissioning. The planned transaction is subject to conditions of closing, including approval from the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.
Entergy takes the health, safety and security of its employees, customers, communities, business partners, and facilities seriously. For that reason, Palisades took preventative measures necessary to keep employees, visiting outage contractors, and the community safe amidst the COVID-19 pandemic. In addition to a robust and successful on-site COVID mitigation plan, the company’s efforts included paying for supplemental workers to stay in individual local hotel rooms, as well as purchasing daily meals to be delivered from area restaurants, all in order to further promote off-site social distancing. That mitigation effort alone amounted to Entergy spending more than $4.3 million in the local community, providing an added economic boost to the region. Meals that workers did not consume were donated to a local food bank.
Entergy Palisades Power Plant in Covert generates 800 megawatts of reliable and virtually carbon-free electricity – enough to safely and securely power 800,000 homes in Southwest Michigan.
The aerial photo of the Palisades Plant accompanying this story on Moody on the Market is courtesy of Tom Renner of South Haven.