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fermi 3

Lester Graham / Michigan Radio

We're coming up on the 50th anniversary of the partial meltdown at the Fermi 1 nuclear power plant next to Lake Erie. The plant, located a few miles northeast of Monroe, inspired the 1975 book We Almost Lost Detroit by reporter John Grant Fuller. 

The owner of the Fermi 1, DTE, published its own account of the meltdown called We Did Not Almost Lose Detroit. DTE says what happened at Fermi 1 has been exaggerated.

Michael Keegan, a member of the Coalition for a Nuclear-Free Great Lakes, joined Stateside to look back at the near-disaster half a century ago, where nuclear technology is at in 2016, and where it's going. 

Lester Graham / Michigan Radio

  

Alarms are going off. People are checking gauges, trying to determine what's wrong.

We’re in a large simulator of a nuclear reactor control room at the DTE Energy Fermi 2 power plant on Lake Erie near Monroe. Employees are being trained to deal with just about any foreseeable problem a nuclear power plant might face. 

James Yeo / Creative Commons

This week, federal nuclear regulators will hold hearings related to DTE’s proposal to build another nuclear reactor in Monroe County. Plans submitted to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission in 2008 call for a roughly 1,500 megawatt reactor.

DTE wants to build Fermi 3 near Fermi 2. Fermi 2 has been operating in Frenchtown Township for 25 years. Fermi 1 partially melted down in the 1960s and was permanently closed in the early 1970s.

Enrico Fermi Nuclear Generating Station
NRC.gov / Nuclear Regulatory Agency

Call it Fermi 2 plus one.

DTE Energy wants to build "Fermi 3," an Economic Simplified Boiling Water Reactor (ESBWR) at its Enrico Fermi Nuclear Plant on the shores of Lake Erie near Monroe, Michigan.

The company's Fermi 2 nuclear power plant has been operating there since 1988.

If Fermi 3 is built, it would bring the number of nuclear reactors operating in Michigan up to five (two reactors at the Donald C. Cook nuclear power plant, one at Palisades, and DTE's Fermi 2).

The company has cleared a regulatory hurdle with the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, the federal agency that oversees nuclear power plants across the country.

The NRC approved Fermi 3's environmental impact statement (EIS), finding there are no major environmental concerns that would keep the project from going forward.

Power magazine has more on the announcement: