Resisting Holtec’s nuclear relapse

Yard signs created by Michigan Safe Energy Future's Kalamazoo Chapter and Shutdown Palisades Campaign.

[Yard sign design by Michigan Safe Energy Future-Kalamazoo Chapter and Palisades Shut Down Campaign; photo by Kevin Kamps.]

Will Wade published an article in Bloomberg on May 8, 2024. It is entitled “The Company Preaching Americ’as Nuclear Revival: Holtec got its start making storage casks for radioactive waste. Now it wants to power the next generation of US nuclear reactors—and it’s shutting down the old ones along the way.” (The article is behind a paywall.)

The article reports:

‘…Then there are the opponents to the whole idea of reviving the [Palisades nuclear power] plant. Activists are working to convince the NRC to reject the planned restart, arguing that the plant’s 2022 shutdown may have exacerbated mechanical problems, including issues that they say may threaten the reactor pressure vessel. The NRC found in 2013 that the vessel, the massive metal unit that contains the reactor core, had become “embrittled,” potentially making it more vulnerable to a catastrophic failure. While the NRC said the vessel met all safety standards, some environmental groups remain unconvinced that Holtec is the best steward of the plant’s future.

“These are huge safety risks they’re playing with,” says Kevin Kamps, a radioactive waste specialist with Beyond Nuclear, an anti-nuclear advocacy group.

More broadly, Beyond Nuclear and other groups, including the Sierra Club and Greenpeace, argue that the push to build up the world’s fleet of reactors is wrongheaded. Money spent on expensive nuclear plants, these organizations say, would be put to better use adding and improving solar and wind technologies, which are much faster to build and don’t produce waste that will be deadly for thousands of years. The groups are committed to fighting the expansion of nuclear power…”

In mid-October, 2023, Beyond Nuclear, through a Freedom of Information Act request to the State of Michigan, broke the news that Holtec regarded the Palisades zombie reactor restart as “a shining talisman for the global nuclear industry.” That is, Holtec was drawing a line in the sand, and reversing the trend of a record breaking number of atomic reactor shutdowns over the past dozen years. Holtec even envisions inspiring Germany to revive nuclear power, through its insanely expensive and extremely high risk restart precedent at the closed Palisades atomic reactor.

As the Bloomberg article reported, Beyond Nuclear and our allies will fight the nuclear nightmare of the Palisades zombie reactor restart at every twist and turn, and will likewise resist Holtec’s nuclear power relapse, including the so-called “Small Modular Reactors” it schemes to construct and operate on the Lake Michigan shoreline.

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