A Fat Check for Holtec

Image: NRC

The DOE has doled out a $1.52B loan guarantee to Holtec International to reboot the Palisades nuclear plant in Michigan. If the energy tech firm can deliver, it may be the first time in US history a closed plant reopens its doors.

Well, that escalated quickly: Holtec bought the closed plant in June 2022 with plans to dismantle it at a cost of $633M over 20 years. However, plans changed when the federal government offered up $6B to help rescue struggling nuclear plants.

Holtec acquired the plant just four days before applications closed for the DOE’s Civil Nuclear Credit (CNC) Program, an initiative born from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law of 2021 and authorized through the Inflation Reduction Act of 2022.

When at first you don’t succeed: Holtec failed to secure funds in the first round of the CNC deal, which awarded $1.1B to extend the lifespan of PG&E’s Diablo Canyon plant in California. Holtec applied for round two in early 2023 – but also asked the DOE’s loan office for funding under the Energy Infrastructure Reinvestment program.

This week, the DOE cut that check.

While Holtec still has many hoops to jump through before the targeted reopening of late 2025, the future looks bright:

  • In September, Wolverine Power Cooperative, a nonprofit energy provider in Michigan (with a sweet name), agreed to buy up to two-thirds of Palisades output for decades to come.  
  • In November, Michigan lawmakers passed bills requiring the state to achieve 100% carbon-free energy by 2040.

Power up: Before its closure in 2022, Palisades produced enough carbon-free nuclear energy to supply electricity to over 800,000 Michigan households. Now, Holtec plans to build two more small reactors to power an extra 600,000 homes. Those could be up and running by mid-2030. 

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