A specialized workforce of nearly 2,000 engineers and other skilled workers has completed a more than $85-million refueling outage at the Palisades Nuclear Power Plant at Covert in Van Buren County, paving the way for the plant's return to service early Friday.
Entergy Corporation officials say that the plant returned to service Friday morning, following the completion of its successful scheduled refueling and maintenance outage. Control room personnel returned the plant to operation, sending electricity to the grid after a planned shutdown that began October 28th. This was the 26th refueling in the plant’s history.
Charlie Arnone is Site Vice President and Entergy's top official on site at Palisades. He says, “We are committed to continuing to provide safe, secure and reliable electricity to area families and businesses through the plant’s permanent closure in 2022.” Arnone adds, “Entergy continues to make the investments needed for the plant, as evidenced by the $87 million of work performed during this outage.”
During the scheduled refueling and maintenance outage, trained professionals replaced about one-third of the fuel in the reactor, inspected and upgraded hundreds of pipes, pumps, electrical components and other equipment.
The team on site, according to Arnone included “Around 1,900 professionals, including nearly 1,300 specialist contractors, who performed hundreds of activities that can only occur while the plant is offline.” He notes, "Hundreds of thousands of person-hours of work were performed over the last several weeks to prepare Palisades for safe and continuous operation over the next 3 ½ years. Thanks to the pride, professionalism and hard work of our team, Palisades is recognized as a top performer within the nuclear power industry and ranks in the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission’s highest safety category.”
This was the second-to-last refueling outage at Palisades before the plant’s permanent retirement in the spring of 2022. On August 1, 2018, Entergy announced that it had agreed to sell the subsidiaries that own Palisades and the Pilgrim Nuclear Power Station in Plymouth, Massacbusetts to a subsidiary of U.S.-based Holtec International for purposes of accelerated decommissioning after those plants’ respective shutdowns and reactor defuelings. For Palisades, that transaction would not occur until after the spring of 2022 and would include the sale of the decommissioned Big Rock Point Plant near Charlevoix. The sales include the transfer of the licenses, spent fuel, and Nuclear Decommissioning Trusts. The transactions are subject to conditions to closing, including federal approval of the license transfers.
The Palisades Power Plant employs about 600 workers and has been a part of the Van Buren County community since it began generating electricity in 1971. The plant generates 811 megawatts of virtually carbon-free electricity, enough to power more than 800,000 homes.
Entergy Corporation is an integrated energy company engaged primarily in electric power production and retail distribution operations. Entergy owns and operates power plants with approximately 30,000 megawatts of electric generating capacity, including nearly 9,000 megawatts of nuclear power. Entergy delivers electricity to 2.9 million utility customers in Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi and Texas. Entergy has annual revenues of approximately $11 billion and more than 13,000 employees. Additional information is available at www.entergy.com.