A controversial nuclear power plant on Lake Michigan is staying open another four years after the plant’s owner and a utility agreed to continue with an existing power purchase agreement.
The Palisades Power Plant in Covert, Michigan, sits on the shore of the Chicago area’s main source of drinking water. Plant owner, Entergy, previously announced that it would sell off its power contract to Consumers Energy and start the plant’s decommissioning process in 2018. The agreement was subject to regulatory approvals.
But Michigan regulators approved less buyout money than expected for Consumers Energy to buy out its contract with Entergy.
“After careful review, Consumers Energy and Entergy have mutually agreed that moving ahead under the terms of our current Palisades’ Power Purchase Agreement through 2022 is the best path forward,” said Katie Carey of Consumers Energy.
Entergy said it remains committed to its strategy of exiting the merchant nuclear power business.
“Entergy will continue to make all necessary investments and maintain appropriate staffing, in accordance with strict licensing standards,” said Charlie Arnone, Entergy’s top official at Palisades.
Still, activists who were pushing for the plant’s closure said the decision to keep the plant operating until 2022 puts the region at risk of potential public health and environmental threats.
Palisades has a recent history of reported leaks and shutdowns.
“This is not a win for a region to carry the risk for a company that is allowed to continue operating an old and particularly unsafe reactor for energy that is over-priced and not needed,” said Gail Snyder, board president for Nuclear Energy Information Service.
According to plant officials, the facility is safe and poses no danger to the public.