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Stateside: Palisades' dubious distinction

Palisades reactor from ouside
Mark Savage
Entergy Nuclear Operations
Workers were already preparing for the planned outage in late March. More than 1,000 extra workers are on site for the shutdown.

One of the biggest environmental stories in our state this year comes from the West Side of Michigan near South Haven, on the shores of Lake Michigan.

That's where you will find the Palisades Nuclear Power Plant which - it seems - just can't stop itself from getting into trouble. The Nuclear Regulatory Commission has declared that Palisades is one of the worst performing plants in the entire country. Michigan Radio’s West Michigan reporter Lindsay Smith has been following the Palisades story as it unfolds and spoke with Cyndy about why Palisades earned this less-than-reassuring distinction.

Lindsey explains Palisades had  four reactor shut downs in 2011 that were not planned. There were a couple of issues. “This biggest one had to do with an electrical outage where a worker didn’t follow work procedures and there was a short circuit that wiped out half of the control room indicators for workers that are controlling the plant. That was deemed a substantially significant safety violation.”

She says this year there have been numerous shutdowns, but they haven’t been unplanned shutdowns. It has taken a year to repair problems including leaks into the control room. A leak of the water that keeps the reactor cool was also just fixed.

The Palisades nuclear power plant is hosting an open house tonight in South Haven. Also, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) will host a public meeting next week to discuss safety concerns in detail.
The Palisades open house will be held from 6 – 8 p.m. tonight. The NRC meeting will be held Wednesday, Sept. 12 at 6:00 p.m. Both will take place at the Beach Haven Event Center: 10420 M-140 Highway in South Haven

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