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Michigan AG Nessel Files Petition with NRC to Protect the Health Safety of Michigan Residents

LANSING – Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel on Wednesday filed a motion with the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) to intervene in a case involving a license transfer request for the Palisades Nuclear Plant and Big Rock Point Independent Spent Fuel Storage Installation, which are both currently owned by Entergy Co.

The Attorney General’s office filed a petition to intervene and a request for a hearing in the case, which involves transferring control of the licenses to those facilities from Entergy to Holtec International. 

Earlier this month, the NRC issued a notice stating that Entergy and Holtec filed an application seeking approval of the transfer of control of the licenses. Entergy plans to retire the Palisades Nuclear Plant in 2022. A trust fund of about $550 million was created with ratepayer funds to provide for the decommissioning of Palisades.  Holtec seeks to use that fund to decommission the Palisades as well as handle the site restoration and fuel management cost.

Attorney General Nessel filed her petition and request to further review this license transfer application.  In her petition, Nessel explains that she supports prompt, thorough and safe decommissioning, as well site restoration and fuel management at Palisades, but is concerned that Holtec does not possess the financial qualifications or assurances necessary to complete such a risk-intensive project. The petition demonstrates that Holtec has significantly underestimated the costs for actual decommissioning, thus threatening the health and safety of Michigan residents. The petition also questions Holtec’s exemption request to use the decommissioning funds for site restoration and nuclear fuel management without providing evidence of other funding sources.

“Protecting the environment, the health and the pocketbooks of Michigan residents are part of my responsibilities as attorney general,” said Nessel. “My concern is that by seriously underestimating the cost of decommissioning, site restoration and nuclear fuel management, coupled with a lack of appropriate financial assurances, Holtec endangers our environment and health, and potentially leaves our residents to bear the costs of proper clean-up.” 

Palisades Nuclear Power Plant is located in Covert Township and the Big Rock Point facility is located in Hayes Township both on the shores of Lake Michigan.

A copy of the AG’s petition can be found online here