Skip to main content

Study finds nuclear energy could benefit environment, economy, but not without concerns about costs and public reception

News media contact: Matt Helms 517-284-8300  

Customer Assistance: 800-292-9555  


Carbon-free electricity generated at nuclear power plants could aid Michigan’s goal of having 100% of its electrical generation from clean sources by 2040, but not without consideration of issues such as the significant expense of new nuclear power, unresolved questions about nuclear waste disposal, and siting challenges, according to a Nuclear Feasibility Study presented to the Michigan Public Service Commission and conducted at the behest of the Michigan Legislature.

The MPSC was directed by lawmakers and Gov. Gretchen Whitmer in Public Acts 166 and 218 of 2022 to engage an outside consulting firm to study the feasibility of nuclear power generation in Michigan to provide carbon-free electricity as the state transitions from fossil fuels to cleaner energy sources.

The study was required to consider the advantages and disadvantages of nuclear energy and include evaluations, conclusions and recommendations on design characteristics, environmental and ecological impacts, land and siting criteria, safety criteria, engineering and cost-related criteria, and small cell nuclear reactor capability. The study also was required to include a socioeconomic assessment and impact analysis on workforce education, training, and development; local and state tax base; supply chains; and permanent and temporary job creation.

After issuing a request for proposals, the Commission selected Enercon Services East PC to conduct the study (Case No. U-21358), which included opportunities for input from energy utilities, community groups and other interested people and organizations. Veritas Economics prepared the report’s workforce and economic impact assessment.

The report notes the emissions-free nature of nuclear power and the relatively small amounts of land needed for nuclear plants, which can produce significant amounts of reliable energy at high capacity factors. The report also notes the disadvantages, including high upfront capital costs, lengthy project development timelines, concerns from the community and no national resolution to the issue of permanent disposal of spent nuclear waste.

Among highlights of the report:

  • A hypothetical new nuclear plant built in Ottawa County or Monroe County would create an estimated $3.6 billion to $3.7 billion in economic benefit and 719 to 777 long term jobs for the duration of the plant’s operation.
  • A hypothetical new nuclear plant in DTE Electric Co.’s territory in southeast Michigan could result in an estimated annual reduction of 365,000 tons of carbon dioxide, 62 tons of sulfur dioxide and 140 tons of nitric oxide. A hypothetical plant in Consumers Energy’s territory could reduce annual emissions by 1.2 million tons of carbon dioxide, 6.2 tons of sulfur dioxide and 197 tons of nitric oxide.
  • Continuing existing nuclear power generation will be necessary for the state to meet its carbon-free energy goals cost-effectively. And for new nuclear, while costs for building nuclear capacity in Michigan may be high, some of the costs may be recouped through long-term economic impacts in local economies and increased tax payments.

There are three operational units located at two power plants in Michigan: one unit at DTE Energy’s Fermi 2 Power Plant near Monroe and two units at Indiana Michigan Power’s Cook Nuclear Plant in Bridgman. Holtec International, the owner of a third plant, Palisades Nuclear Plant in Covert Township, seeks to gain regulatory approval to reinstate the plant’s operating license and procure federal funding to restart it.

Additional information about the MPSC’s work on this matter can be found at the Commission’s Nuclear Feasibility Study webpage.


For information about the MPSC, visit, sign up for its monthly newsletter or other listservs. Follow the Commission on Facebook, X/Twitter or LinkedIn.


# # #