US rejects funding for reopening Michigan-Holtec nuclear power plant


WASHINGTON, Nov 18 (Reuters) – The U.S. Department of Energy has rejected Holtec International’s request for funding to reopen the Palisades nuclear power plant in Michigan, a Holtec spokesman said on Friday.

Holtec purchased the 805-megawatt Palisades Generating Station in May to decommission the facility, which had struggled to compete with natural gas and renewables. He was seeking to reopen it with funding from the initial phase of the Department of Energy’s $6 billion civilian nuclear credit program.

“We fully understood that what we were trying to do, restarting a closed nuclear plant, would be both a challenge and a first for the nuclear industry,” said Patrick O’Brien, spokesman for Holtec.

The move poses a hurdle for President Joe Biden’s administration, which believes nuclear power is key to fighting climate change. Biden wants to make the electric grid carbon-free by 2035.

The DOE did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Nuclear power produces toxic waste, currently held in 28 power plants across the country.

ClearView Energy Partners, a nonpartisan research group, said in September that Palisades’ closure was “likely to be permanent.” Palisades was out of nuclear fuel, had a control rod drive joint problem that needed to be fixed, and likely needed a new company to operate it, as well as a buyer for it. energy it generates, ClearView said at the time.

The CNC program, launched by the DOE this year, is for power plants in states with competitive electricity markets and funded through the infrastructure bill passed last year.

The 92 reactors of the American nuclear industry produce more than half of the country’s carbon-free electricity. But a dozen reactors have closed since 2013 in the face of competition from renewable energies and power plants that burn abundant natural gas.

In the first phase of the CNC program, the DOE prioritized factories that had already closed or announced their intention to close. Electric utility PG&E Corp (PCG.N) was the only other company to apply in the first phase, for its Diablo Canyon plant in California, which is expected to close completely by 2025. PG&E did not immediately responded to a request for comment on the status of its application.

Reporting by Timothy Gardner; additional reporting by Nichola Groom in Los Angeles; Editing by David Gregorio, Jonathan Oatis and Josie Kao

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