nuclear energy

Environment & Science
4:21 pm
Wed December 12, 2012

TIMELINE: 8 shutdowns at Palisades Nuclear Power Plant in past 2 years

Palisades Nuclear Power Plant on the shores of Lake Michigan near South Haven.
Entergy Corporation

Michigan Radio has been following the problems at the Palisades Nuclear Power Plant for the last several years.

Our West Michigan reporter, Lindsey Smith, has been on top of all the leaks, shutdowns, public meetings and visits from the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission.

Last February, after five shutdowns in one year, the NRC downgraded Palisades' safety rating. It was rated as one of the four worst in the country.

Read more
Energy
2:53 am
Wed December 12, 2012

“Significant” issues at Palisades plant resolved, but still a “long way to go"

Kevin Kamps of Beyond Nuclear asks officials from NRC questions about Palisades at a meeting Tuesday night in South Haven.
Lindsey Smith Michigan Radio

Company officials who run the Palisades nuclear plant in southwest Michigan say they are improving the safety culture among workers that led to “significant” safety concerns last year. But at a meeting in South Haven Tuesday night, Palisades Site Vice President Tony Vitale said the plant has a “long way to go” to reach “operating excellence.”

Read more
Energy
4:48 pm
Tue November 20, 2012

Nuclear regulators schedule public meeting to discuss Palisades safety upgrade

The Palisades nuclear plant is located in Covert, Michigan.
Mark Savage Entergy

Top federal nuclear regulators will be in South Haven early next month to discuss the Palisades nuclear power plant’s recent safety rating upgrade with the community.

Read more
The Environment Report
12:41 pm
Tue November 20, 2012

Plan to store lower-level nuclear waste near Lake Huron

The Bruce Nuclear Power Plant
Bruce Power Ontario Power Generation

You can listen to today's Environment Report or read an expanded version of the story below.

The Bruce Nuclear Power Plant sits on the Ontario side of Lake Huron. It’s across the lake from Michigan’s Thumb region.  Ontario Power Generation owns the plant. 

The company wants to store the lower level nuclear waste from all of their plants underground, near the Bruce plant.

They’re proposing to dig almost a half mile underground to build the facility. It would be a little more than half a mile away from the shore of Lake Huron.

Read more
Energy
10:54 am
Thu November 8, 2012

Fermi 2 nuclear power plant shutdown

Fermi 2 nuclear power plant on Lake Erie
NRC

DTE Energy's Fermi 2 nuclear power plant was shutdown yesterday morning after workers discovered excess hydrogen in a generator cooling system.

From the Detroit News:

DTE spokesman Guy Cerullo said Thursday that workers will be checking equipment to find the root of the problem. The company would not provide a timetable for the power plant to be back online.

"Customers won't see any difference," Cerullo said. "We are always are able to get additional power from other plants."

No one at the plant or in surrounding areas was in any danger, Cerullo said.

The Fermi 2 nuclear power plant is near Monroe, Michigan and it sits on Lake Erie.

There are 38 nuclear power plants operating in the eight Great Lakes states. Four are in Michigan. Five nuclear power plants are operating in Ontario.

Environment & Science
2:44 pm
Wed October 24, 2012

New study looks at cancer risk near nuclear facilities, including one in Michigan

The Big Rock Point Nuclear Power Plant in Charlevoix, Michigan. The plant was decommissioned in 1997.
NRC

A new federal study will look at cancer risk around nuclear facilities.

The National Academy of Sciences study will look at cancer types in infants and the general population near six nuclear power plants and one nuclear-fuel plant for the Navy.

The sites being studied are in California, Connecticut, Illinois, Michigan, New Jersey and Tennessee.

Researchers will look at the area around the decommissioned Big Rock Point Nuclear Power Plant in Charlevoix, Michigan.

Read more
Energy
3:41 pm
Mon October 22, 2012

Unresolved issues remain but “no significant findings” in August leak at Palisades plant

A photo of the control rod drive mechanism that cracked, causing a leak and subsequent shut down of Palisades in August.
Nuclear Regulatory Commission

Operators of the Palisades nuclear power plant did not do anything wrong during a water leak that shut the plant down in August. At least nothing that resulted in any “significant findings” according to a report recently released by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.

Read more
The Environment Report
8:52 am
Tue October 2, 2012

Regulators see “no indications of bad practice” leading to Palisades leak; final review pending

NRC.gov

The federal agency that regulates nuclear power plants released more information on Monday about a leak over the summer at the Palisades plant near South Haven. The plant has one of the worst safety ratings in the US after a number of problems last year.

There have been at least three water leaks at Palisades in the past several months.

Read more
Energy
10:52 pm
Wed September 26, 2012

Inspector discovers new water leak at Palisades nuclear plant

Lake Michigan viewed from the Palisades plant. The latest leak is from the system that uses Lake Michigan water to cool equipment. The leaking valve is in one of the secondary buildings at the location.
Mark Savage Entergy

Documents released this week show a Nuclear Regulatory Commission inspector based at Palisades discovered the leak during a routine inspection on September 20th.  

Palisades is under more scrutiny this year after a series of problems earned it one of the worst safety ratings in the country. This is at least the third water leak (depending on exactly how you tally them) at the nuclear plant this year. You can find more details about the first leak from a large water tank above the control room here, and the second water leak from the actual reactor here.

Read more
Energy
12:36 pm
Wed September 26, 2012

TIMELINE: Problems at Palisades, 7 shutdowns in last 2 years

Palisades Nuclear Power Plant.
Entergy Corporation

Michigan Radio has been following the problems at the Palisades Nuclear Power Plant for the last several years.

Our West Michigan reporter, Lindsey Smith, has been on top of all the leaks, shutdowns and visits from the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission.

There's been so much news of late, it can get a little confusing.

To clear up what's been happening at Michigan's oldest operating nuclear power plant, we created this timeline.

Read more
Environment & Science
2:42 pm
Mon September 17, 2012

Feds begin safety inspection at Palisades plant

Palisades Nuclear Plant.
Entergy Corporation

TRAVERSE CITY, Mich. (AP) - A team from the Nuclear Regulatory Commission has begun a special inspection of the Palisades nuclear power plant in southwestern Michigan.

The inspectors will be following up on two incidents in 2011 that caused the plant's safety rating to be downgraded, making it among the nation's poorest performing nuclear plants.

One problem was an electrical fault that caused a reactor shutdown and the other was failure of a water pump that cools safety equipment.

NRC spokeswoman Prema Chandrathil said Monday the eight-member inspector team began work Monday and will remain at Palisades for about two weeks. They'll be determining whether problem areas have been fixed and examining the plant's safety culture.

Afterward, they'll prepare a report that will determine whether Palisades' rating will go up, down or stay the same.

Energy
1:56 am
Fri September 7, 2012

Entergy uses open house to show workers “are returning Palisades to excellence”

People got a chance to speak with Palisades managers and engineers at the open house Thursday night in South Haven.
Lindsey Smith Michigan Radio

Dozens of people crowded around several small tables at conference center in South Haven, six miles north of the Palisades nuclear plant.

Each table features a different area of concern or interest at the plan; the reactor vessel’s embrittlement factor, a water tank leak, a coupling failure, replacement of a cooling tower, how spent fuel is stored, community projects Entergy supports.

Engineers and project managers point to pictures and diagrams to help answer questions. There are little freebies and even a raffle for a new Ipad.

The plant has one of the worst safety ratings in the country after a series of problems in 2011.

Read more
Environment & Science
12:46 pm
Thu September 6, 2012

Stateside: Palisades' dubious distinction

Palisades reactor from ouside
Mark Savage Entergy Nuclear Operations

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.

Read more
energy
11:31 am
Thu August 30, 2012

Palisades returning to service after repairing another leak

Control room operators began brining the plant back online this morning. It takes about a day to get up to full power and sync up with the electric grid. This photo is from April 2012.
Mark Savage Entergy

This post has been modified to correct language from the NRC.

The Palisades nuclear power plant is returning to service. It was shut down earlier this month to repair a water leak in the building where the actual reactor is located.  

Workers found water was leaking through several cracks in a device that sits atop the nuclear reactor. Palisades Spokesman Mark Savage says they completely replaced that control rod device.

Read more
Environment & Science
9:00 am
Tue August 14, 2012

Another leak forces shutdown at Palisades nuclear power plant

Lindsey Smith Michigan Radio

The Palisades Nuclear Power Plant near South Haven has shut down again.

This is the second time this summer Entergy Corporation has had to shut down the plant for repairs. 

The plant shut down to refuel in April; that was normal. It restarted in early May.

But then a water leak in a tank above the control room caused the plant to shut back down just a few weeks later. Those repairs took a month and on July 11th the plant started up again. Though that leak appears to be fixed, it is still under investigation by special federal agents with the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.

But as it returned to service in July, Palisades spokesman Mark Savage says operators discovered a different water leak – this time in the building that holds the nuclear reactor. In a written statement, Savage called the leak “minor.”

The company noticed this leak when they restarted the plant after fixing that first leak in a tank above the control room. This leak is in a different area of the plant – the containment building. This building holds the nuclear reactor itself.

Prema Chandrathil is a spokeswoman for the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.  She says the leak is not a threat to public health.

“It’s contained and it goes into the plant’s waste storage tank," Chandrathil said.

Chandrathil says the situation at Palisades is “serious” though. The NRC now has a specialized inspector to assist regular inspectors at the plant while the company makes repairs.

Read more
energy
11:05 am
Tue July 17, 2012

Report on Palisades nuclear plant: 'Lack of accountability at all levels'

Mark Savage Entergy Corporation

Update 11:05 a.m.

Palisades Spokesman Mark Savage issued these bullet points Tuesday in an email response to reporters about the report by Conger & Elsea:

Read more
energy
8:55 am
Tue July 3, 2012

Federal investigators probe Entergy over leaky tank at Palisades

Palisades pictured from the nearby Van Buren State Park on the shores of Lake Michigan
Lindsey Smith Michigan Radio

This story has been modified to correct a metric conversion and the reference to the substance tritium.

The Palisades plant near South Haven has an aluminum water tank that’s used in case of emergencies or when the plant needs to be refueled. Last month, Entergy, the company that owns the plant, shut the reactor down to fix a leak in the tank.

Palisades knew the tank was leaking for longer than the company first said

It appears that the water tank has been leaking for a lot longer than the company first admitted.

Read more
Economy
10:53 am
Sat June 23, 2012

Debate over renewable energy ballot issue heats up in Michigan

Solar? Wind? Geothermal? Oil? Coal? Natural Gas? What's the solution to Michigan's future energy needs? Or, is the real question, How much of each?
Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio

LANSING, Mich. (AP) - Supporters say a ballot measure requiring that utilities get more of their electricity from renewable sources would make Michigan a leader in clean energy and create jobs.

Opponents say it would cost electric customers more money and make it harder to provide reliable energy.

On Monday, opponents with the Clean Affordable Renewable Energy (CARE) for Michigan Coalition plan to ramp up statewide efforts to defeat the issue. They argue the requirement doesn't belong in the state constitution.

Read more
energy
1:38 am
Wed June 13, 2012

Palisades nuclear plant shut down to fix leaky water tank

Palisades Nuclear Power Plant in South Haven, Michigan.
Mark Savage Entergy Corporation

The leaky tank in question at the Palisades Nuclear Power Plant in South Haven holds 300,000 gallons of water in case of emergencies or a planned refueling outage. In a written statement issued late Tuesday night a Palisades spokesman says workers have been collecting and analyzing water that’s leaked from the tank.

On Tuesday workers collected 31 gallons of water. At that point administrators declared the tank "inoperable" and shut down the plant down while workers fix the leak.

Read more
Environment & Science
2:36 pm
Tue May 8, 2012

University of Michigan gets $1.3M from feds for nuclear energy research

ANN ARBOR, Mich. (AP) - The University of Michigan is getting $1.3 million in federal money to help train and educate the next generation of leaders in the nation's nuclear industry.

The U.S. Department of Energy on Tuesday announced the money in research grants, fellowships and scholarships. They're part of the department's Nuclear Energy University Program and Integrated University Program that will support nuclear energy research and development efforts.

Part of the money for the Ann Arbor school will go to a research project aimed at developing new and advanced reactor designs and technologies.

Funding is going to 46 colleges and universities nationwide.

Pages