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This week nuclear regulators take questions on latest shutdown at Palisades Nuclear Plant

Mark Savage

Federal regulators will host a public meeting this week to recap the latest shutdown of the Palisades Nuclear Plant. The plant restarted about a month ago after fixing a water leak.

The leak was small; about 80 gallons of slightly radioactive water drained into Lake Michigan in May. Regulators say the leak did not pose a threat to public safety. The plant was shut down for more than five weeks to make repairs.

The leak was caused by a faulty weld in a huge water tank that’s not used during normal operations. In a public document, officials from Entergy, the company that owns Palisades, said the cause of the leak was a crack in a weld in the tank:

“The poorly performed weld was an isolated human performance error by a contract welder utilizing poor welder technique.”

But the incident was the latest in a string of problems at Palisades. The plant has shut down 10 times in the past 2 1/2 years. Many of them were caused by equipment problems or human error; the latest shutdown included.

Nuclear regulators will discuss the cause of the shutdown and the repairs on Tuesday. They’ll take questions from the public during the online meeting set for 5:30 p.m. Those who wish to listen in should preregister at this link by today.

The nuclear power plant in Covert Township in southwest Michigan is one of three in the state.

Lindsey Smith is a Peabody Award-winning journalist currently leading the station's Amplify Team. She previously served as Michigan Public's Morning News Editor, Investigative Reporter and West Michigan Reporter.
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