For Immediate Release
Environmental Groups Warn Michigan Governor Whitmer about Sale of Palisades Atomic Reactor to Holtec
Fears of Radioactive Contamination to be Left Behind, Short Cuts on Highly Radioactive Waste Management
WASHINGTON - The national nuclear power industry watch-dog group Beyond Nuclear, with support from Michigan-based organizations Don't Waste Michigan and Coalition for a Nuclear-Free Great Lakes, has written Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer, urging the state government intervene against the license transfer of Palisades nuclear power plant, in Van Buren County on the Lake Michigan shoreline, from its current owner, Entergy, to a subsidiary of New Jersey-based Holtec International. Entergy has announced it will shut Palisades for good by May 31, 2022, after which the reactor will enter its decommissioning phase. Numerous other state officials, including the Lt. Gov., Attorney General, Public Service Commissioners, Department of Health and Human Services officials, Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy (EGLE) officials, Michigan's Treasurer, the state's U.S. congressional delegation, state legislative leaders, and Indigenous Nations leaders, were copied on the letter.
If the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) approves the license transfer of Palisades, then Holtec, along with its consortium partner SNC-Lavalin of Montreal, Quebec, would be put in charge of Palisades' decommissioning (facility dismantlement), radiological cleanup, and highly radioactive waste management. Palisades' sister reactor site, Big Rock Point in Charlevoix, Michigan, would be included in the sale. There is a meeting of the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) on Tuesday, December 8th, from 2 to 4pm Eastern, to discuss the sale and license transfer. State officials, environmental group representatives, and impacted residents can attend the teleconference, make comments, and share concerns. Members of the news media can ask questions. Details of the NRC meeting are posted here, including the teleconference call-in numbers. Here is a link to the slideshow that will be presented. Michigan Radio has reported on the meeting.
The groups have warned Gov. Whitmer that transferring Palisades' licenses to Holtec poses significant risks to Michigan -- in terms of health and safety, environmental impacts on the surrounding area and Lake Michigan, and in terms of its impact on the state's economy and fiscal health. Holtec's track record -- as well as that of its decommissioning consortium partner, SNC-Lavalin of Canada -- includes bribery, fraud, and malfeasance, as well as serious shortcomings in terms of financial assurance, technical qualifications, and decommissioning experience.
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Beyond Nuclear aims to educate and activate the public about the connections between nuclear power and nuclear weapons and the need to abandon both to safeguard our future. Beyond Nuclear advocates for an energy future that is sustainable, benign and democratic.