NRC’s Requirements Following Entergy’s Announcement Palisades Will Cease Operation

Viktoria Mitlyng
Senior Public Affairs Officer
Region III

Entergy announced last week it would permanently shut down its Palisades Nuclear Plant on October 1, 2018. The facility, located in Covert, Mich., has been in operation since 1971 and is licensed to operate until 2031.

palisades_smallThe NRC was not involved in the decision, which the company said was based on business and financial factors. Our single focus as an independent regulator is on the safety of nuclear plants, the public and the environment.

However, once any announcement about closure is made, the NRC becomes engaged and the company has to meet our requirements for permanently shutting down an operating reactor.

The first step in this process requires Entergy to make a written Certification of Permanent Cessation of Operations to the NRC within 30 days from announcing its decision to permanently take the plant off line.

Should Entergy decide to continue operating the plant beyond the date stated in the certification, it would have to notify the NRC in writing.

As long as the plant is operating, we will continue to independently verify Palisades is meeting NRC’s stringent requirements. These requirements will remain in place until all fuel is removed from the reactor and the NRC has the company’s certifications of permanent cessation of operation and permanent fuel removal. At that point in the process, Entergy is no longer authorized to put new fuel into the reactor or resume plant operation.

The plant then enters the NRC’s well-established decommissioning process  geared towards ensuring the continued safe use of nuclear material, and the safety of nuclear workers and the public. Decommissioning must be completed within 60 years of the plant ceasing operations.

Nuclear plant operators are required to plan for the ultimate decommissioning of the plant before it begins operations by establishing and maintaining a dedicated decommissioning fund. These funds – created to ensure there will be sufficient money to pay for a plant’s radiological decommissioning — cannot be used for any other purpose unless the NRC grants an exemption.

Operating plants must maintain the required levels established by the NRC  and certify that there is reasonable assurance there will be adequate decommissioning funds, at least every two years while the plant is operating and more frequently after it ceases operations. The NRC reviewed the decommissioning funding status report  for Palisades in 2015 and found that it met our requirements.

Author: Moderator

Public Affairs Officer for the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission

10 thoughts on “NRC’s Requirements Following Entergy’s Announcement Palisades Will Cease Operation”

  1. Safety is always the issue. proper usage of the resources will determine the safety of everyone.

  2. There are two ways you can be notified of comments posted to the Open Forum. If you have posted a comment to the Open Forum in the past, there is a box you could have checked to get notified of new comments. The second way is to subscribe to the blog and check the box indicating you want to be notified when all comments are posted. If you have already subscribed and are not currently getting notification of comments, you can go back and amend the subscription. The NRC has no access to the subscription list, which is a function of the WordPress platform.


  3. I appreciate the Moderator’s patience with me & for posting my comment as “it references the comment originally submitted to this post”. You have responded & I appreciate it. Only one part of my comment remains unanswered. It is with regard to what you said here, “According to the comment guidelines, however, a comment that is unrelated to the post under which it is submitted will be moved to the Open Forum section.” When a comment is so moved are all folks signed up for the NRC Blog sent an email informing them that not only was a comment so moved but the text of the comment itself? That is what I understand happens when the NRC accepts a “relevant” comment on the blog topic they want to talk about. That would seem to be fair & then it could in no way be construed that the NRC was censoring the public it was supposed to serve & put first.
    If that is the case I would have no problem with your comment guidelines.

  4. The NRC liberally applies its comment policy and to the extent possible keeps comments on the post to which they are submitted. According to the comment guidelines, however, a comment that is unrelated to the post under which it is submitted will be moved to the Open Forum section. Such was the case for the comment you cite. The comment is available to read here: No one has ever been “banned” from the NRC blog.

    Your comment is being retained on this post since it references the comment originally submitted to this post.


  5. Steam Shovel has been banned to the NRC Open Forum for not sticking right to the NRC party line. Check this out…
    The NRC Dead Letter File
    Sorry Steam Shovel you just can’t win. It is the NRC’s Blog & they alone will determine whether or not what you write is relevant to their blog topic. If it is deemed by the NRC Moderator not to be relevant he/she sends it to their equivalent of the USPS ‘Dead Letter’ file…you know the so-called Open Forum portion of the NRC Blog site. You either talk about the stuff they want to talk about or you are cast into Open Forum dungeon. When you look at items in the Open Forum there is no discussion & no moderator ever comments on the stuff you would like to talk about. Also I believe that when your little blog is sent to the Forum no one else is notified so they can read what you have written.
    How very convenient for the NRC!
    Yes Steam Shovel this is the same NRC that says they are an open & transparent agency of “our” government. In reality it is like one-way glass. They see you, you cannot see them. They tell you what they want you to know and they post your response as they see fit. They post it for everyone to see or they post it where usually no one sees it or even bothers to go.
    Only blog site I have encountered that is that way.

  6. Steamshovel, the Nuclear Retirement Commission contributes greatly to the demise of the very people & plants they are supposed to regulate. They are in effect shoveling their own grave. Ultimately when your very livelihood depends on the very industry you live off of what other outcome should we expect?! A key turn for the worse at the NRC occurred more than a decade & a half ago in my opinion. Individual violations of what are deemed to be of very low safety significance were simply swept under the rug starting then. A written response from the licensee was no longer required for each & every federal violation of requirements. Most of these violations (color-coded GREEN) are now simply trended. You get the “GREEN” light now even if you have many of these types of violations. Treating violations in such a manner is like giving the green light to repeat DWI/DUI offenders.

  7. The theme goes, some financial pinhead with no knowledge of the plant decides how much funding goes into it. The money is grossly Insufficient. It destroys the safety culture; everyone defers to deceptions, cover-ups, falsifications and not following the rules to the feds. The Feds let the chaos and rules violations intensify until loads of components fail embarrassing the agency and nuclear industry. The agency is forced to drop the hammer down on the plant to maintain credibly. Entergy is forced to spend big bucks on the dying plant…replace components and upgrade the plant. Within a few years, the plant becomes grossly uncompetitive based on this surge of big spending. Then they decide to shutdown the plant.

    You are going to be seeing much more of this with this historic financial crisis.
    Every penny spent on Palisades post 2012 yellow finding was a waste. Why aren’t these executives  who wasted this money held accountable. With Palisades, it was the safety injection tank and the botched work on the DC safety bus. At Pilgrim, it was my safety relief valves failures and their switchyard not appropriate for the climate. At Fort Calhoun, it was the historic flooding and safety breaker fire, that allowed outsides, thus the NRC, to see the massive acceptable levels of rules violation going on at this dangerous plant.

    The 2012 yellow finding symbolized the apex of hubris with the NRC and Entergy.

  8. What a Christmas gift. I ply the waters of Lake Michigan for a living, fishing. An accident at Palisades would have bankrupted me.

  9. It is hard to keep up with all these premature nuke plant closings. So many fine professionals have lost or soon will be losing their jobs. How many professionals at the NRC have lost their jobs & how many more will lose their jobs as these plants go out of service? Are layoffs at the NRC by seniority or by other criteria?

  10. It is so encouraging watching the energy corporations … finally … taking truly responsible roles for the safety of their industry. These old nuclear plants are such toxic dangers, that the NRC doesn’t have a systemic plan to close them all down I still don’t understand, yet I’m grateful someone in this industry is finally making the challenging decisions to evolve this industry to a functional reality from this overly fragile one that actually and tragically presently endangers everyone.

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