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Public meeting about ownership change for Palisades nuclear plant comes this week


This week, federal regulators will hold a public meeting to discuss plans to transfer the operating license for thePalisades nuclear power plant.

Entergy Corp. agreed to sell the aging nuclear plant in southwest Michigan to Holtec Intl. in 2018.
Patrick O’Brien is a spokesman for Comprehensive Decommissioning International, the joint U.S.-Canadian company formed by Holtec to oversee the decommissioning of nuclear power plants in the United States.

O’Brien says Tuesday’s meeting is a standard pre-meeting with the NRC to discuss the pending license transfer application.   He expects the company will submit a formal License Transfer Application to the NRC in the next couple weeks.

If the Nuclear Regulatory Commission approves the license transfer, the Camden, New Jersey based company will oversee the decommissioning of Palisades starting in 2022.
“The problem with Holtec is they’re going to try to do as little clean up as they can get away with,” says Kevin Kamps with Beyond Nuclear, a nuclear waste watchdog, “They’re going to take as many short cuts on high level waste management as they can get away with...and then pocket all the remaining money.”

Kamp wants to see state and local officials play a greater role in decommissioning plans and potential future uses for the site on the shores of Lake Michigan.

Legislation to create a "Nuclear Decommissioning Citizens Advisory Panel" has stalled in a state House committee. 

Val Gent is a senior communications specialist for Entergy Corporation. 

Gent says Holtec’s plan to accelerate the decommissioning schedule provides the potential for site redevelopment, decades earlier than if Entergy continued to own the facility.

The NRC previously approved applications to transfer the licenses to Holtec for the purpose of accelerated decommissioning for Indian Point Energy Center in New York, Pilgrim Nuclear Power Station in Massachusetts and Oyster Creek Nuclear Generating Station in New Jersey.

Steve Carmody has been a reporter for Michigan Public since 2005. Steve previously worked at public radio and television stations in Florida, Oklahoma and Kentucky, and also has extensive experience in commercial broadcasting.
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