GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — The Michigan Public Service Commission is looking for a consulting firm to conduct a study on whether the state should consider allowing a new nuclear power plant.
The study is a requirement of Michigan’s appropriations bill passed last July, giving the MPSC $250,000 to find an outside team to run the study. The goal is to spell out the advantages and disadvantages of operating a nuclear energy plant in Michigan and its economic and environmental impact.
The bidding window will for consulting firms opens on March 3. The study must be submitted to the Legislature by April 2024.
The study comes just months after the shutdown of Michigan’s last nuclear power facility — Palisades in Covert Township. Palisades shut down in mid-May, days earlier than expected out of an abundance of caution because of some concerns with the seal on the plant’s control rod drive.
However, there was a major push to bring the facility back online, led in part by Gov. Gretchen Whitmer and former Michigan Governor and current U.S. Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm.
“Keeping Palisades open will keep energy costs low, shore up domestic energy production and increase Michigan’s competitiveness for future economic development,” Whitmer said in a statement last September.
One month after its shutdown in May, Palisades was sold to Holtec Decommissioning International with a plan to decommission the plant and remove spent fuel. But in December, Holtec announced it had reversed course and applied to the Department of Energy’s Civil Nuclear Credit program to restart the facility.
“This decision to reapply is one that we did not take lightly, but the support of the State of Michigan, local officials and key stakeholders — who recognize the significant benefit in providing a safe, reliable, carbon-free power source, as well as providing a significant economic impact through good paying jobs and the use of many local goods and services — leads us to believe this is the best path forward for the facility and our state,” Holtec said in a Dec. 19 Facebook post.