Public input on the proposal to restart the Palisades Nuclear Plant

NOW: Public input on the proposal to restart the Palisades Nuclear Plant

BENTON HARBOR, Mich. - Some Michiganders are raising concerns over the proposal to re-start the Palisades Nuclear Plant.

Holtec International plans to build the country's first small modular reactors at the site in Covert Township that closed in 2022.

The Department of Energy has even agreed to a conditional $1.5 billion loan to get the plant up and running.

Wednesday night, members of the public got to weigh in during a meeting at Lake Michigan College.

Most people were just trying to learn more information.

Some people are concerned about the safety of the plant, largely because this is the first time a nuclear power plant has been reopened in the U.S.

Ben Burmeister, from South Haven, joined Wednesday night's meeting to figure out whether he supports re-opening the palisades nuclear power plant.

While he feels this could be good for the local economy, with the state estimating a $363 million economic impact, Burmeister worries about the potential environmental risks the plant could pose to Lake Michigan

Burmeister stated “The radioactive waste is an issue, the storage, how it's going to be transported. I've heard a number of ideas, but some of them seem kind of risky.”

Leaders of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission Palisades Restart Panel addressed some concerns.

Jason Kozal, the Director of Division of Operator Reactor Safety at the NRC says there are requirements to meet for design, maintenance, and security to ensure safety. 

“We will not let the plant start up unless it's safe, we can guarantee that," said Kozal.

Officials say as more work happens on the site; inspections will also spike.

Regional Administrator for the Midwest Region of the NRC, Jack Giessner, says they've already inspected the control room simulator that will look exactly like the Palisades' control room to make sure what future employees are training on is up to code. 

The NRC says an opening date has not been set yet.

The plant's future operators still need to be licensed and go through the NRC's rigorous approval process.

Share this article: