Action Alert: Individuals and Organizations in Michigan, Please Sign Letter to State Legislators by June 27, Opposing $300 Million State Grant to Holtec for Palisades Zombie Reactor Restart!

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

Dear Friends and Colleagues,

Thanks to the following 23 organizations and 51 individuals (as of 10am ET, Thurs., June 22) in Michigan, who have already signed on:
23 ORGANIZATIONS (arranged alphabetically by group name):

Keith Gunter, Board Chair, Alliance to Halt Fermi 3, Livonia, 48151

Nichole Keway Biber, Tribal Citizen, LTBB Odawa, Anishinaabek Caucus, East Lansing, 48823

LuAnne Kozma, President, Ban Michigan Fracking, Charlevoix, 49720

Rev. Edward Pinkney, President-CEO, Benton Harbor Community Water Council, Benton Harbor, 49022

Kevin Kamps, Radioactive Waste Specialist, Beyond Nuclear, Takoma Park, MD (on behalf of its members and supporters in Michigan)

Jessie Pauline Collins, Co-Chair, Citizens’ Resistance at Fermi 2 (CRAFT), Redford, 48240

Michael J. Keegan, Chair, Coalition for a Nuclear-Free Great Lakes, Monroe, 48161

Rev. Sharon Buttry, MSW, Volunteer Facilitator, Detroit Hamtramck Coalition for Advancing Healthy Environments, Detroit, 48213

Alice Hirt, Co-Chair, Don’t Waste Michigan, Holland, 49423

Kathryn Barnes, Don’t Waste Michigan, Sherwood Chapter

Liz Kirkwood, J.D., Executive Director, FLOW (For Love Of Water), Traverse City, 49684

David Benac, Chair, Kalamazoo Earth Day Committee, Kalamazoo, 49006

Terry Miller, Chair, Lone Tree Council, Bay City, 48706

Peggy Case, President, Michigan Citizens for Water Conservation, Mecosta, 49320

Iris Potter, Michigan Safe Energy Future (Kalamazoo Chapter), Kalamazoo

Kraig Schultz, Member, Michigan Safe Energy Future (Shoreline Chapter), Grand Haven, 49417-8700

Ann Rogers, Board Member, Northern Michigan Environmental Action Council (NMEAC), Traverse City, 49686

Tim Judson, Executive Director, Nuclear Information and Resource Service, Takoma Park, MD (on behalf of its members and supporters in Michigan)

Estelle Slootmaker, Our Kitchen Table, Grand Rapids, 49507

Rev. Rich Peacock, Co-Chair, Peace Action of Michigan, Sterling Heights, 48310

Gregory Panzica, Executive Director, Peace Nick, Royal Oak, 48068

Megan Douglass, Managing Editor, Riverwise Magazine, Detroit 48214

Rita Mitchell, Co-Founder, Washtenaw350, Ann Arbor, 48104

51 INDIVIDUALS (arranged alphabetically by last name):

Jeff Alson, Ann Arbor, 48103

Dale Anderson, Kalamazoo, 49008

Lynda Asher, Ann Arbor, 48104

Heather Benac, Kalamazoo, 49006

Maureen Burr, Brownstown, 48134

Karen Chadwick, Kalamazoo, 49006

Kay Cumbow, Brown City, 48416

Martha Dahlinger, Portage, 49024-6634

Kevin Davey, Covert, 49043

Darlene DeHudy, Norton Shores, 49441

Jeri Devlin, Muskegon, 49440

Lois Dickason, South Haven, 49090

Linda L. Dunigan, Williamsburg, 49690

Julie Dye, Dowagiac, 49047

Carolyn Ferry, Covert, 49043

Christine Flagler, Kalamazoo, 49008

Ladislav and Jana Hanka, Kalamazoo, 49008

Denise Hartsough, Kalamazoo, 49006

Christopher and Lydia Hodshire, Kalamazoo, 49009

Dr. Ross Landsman, Skokie, IL (retired dry cask storage safety inspector at Palisades, U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, Region 3)

Adrian Laurenzi, Detroit, 48206

Rebecca Mandrell, Richland, 49083

Sheryl Mase, Lansing, 48912

Larry and Priscilla Massie, South Haven, 49090

Ed McArdle, Waterford, 48327

Rita Mitchell, Ann Arbor, 48103

Terry and Laura O’Brien, Covert, 49043

Lisa Paulus, Muskegon, 49441

Andrea Pierce, Ypsilanti, 48198

Barbara and Julius Pellegrini, Benton Harbor, 49022-9570

Dillon Reed, Covert, 49043

Jeremy Rossman, Union Pier, 49129

Pamela Rups, Kalamazoo, 49008

Kat Russell, Grand Rapids, 49507

Lauren Sargent, PhD, Ann Arbor, 48104

Rev. Robert D Schoenhals, (Pastor, St. Matthew’s United Methodist Church, Ypsilanti, and
Cherry Hill United Methodist Church, Cherry Hill), Ypsilanti, 48198

Ann Scott, Palisades Park, Covert, 49043

Steve Senesi, Kalamazoo, 49001
Daniel Smith, Portage, 49024

Dave Staiger, Kalamazoo, 49001

Michael Stauffer, Grand Rapids, 49504

Mark Swanson, Ann Arbor, 48105

Jeffrey Vrba, Bloomfield Hills, 48301

Ineke Way, Kalamazoo, 49008

Randy Weenum, Norton Shores, 49441

Jill A. Warren, Ypsilanti, 48198

And thank you to Iris Potter with Michigan Safe Energy Future-Kalamazoo Chapter and Palisades Shut Down Campaign, for posting this action alert at their Facebook Page:

We are seeking sign-on, by individuals and organizations in Michigan, for this letter to Michigan state legislators, opposing Holtec International’s requested $300 million grant from the state for the unprecedented Palisades zombie atomic reactor restart scheme. See the text of the letter, below.

Michiganders, please take direct action by signing on, and spread the word!

(Non-Michiganders, please alert folks you know in the Great Lakes State by forwarding this email!)

To sign-on, please email me <[email protected]> the following information:

Your Personal Name

(Title, if Applicable)

(Organization, if Applicable)

Street Address

City, State, Zip Code

We will keep this sign-on opportunity open until June 27th — depending on circumstances! — but please consider signing on ASAP. Thank you!

—Kevin Kamps

Beyond Nuclear, radioactive waste specialist

Don’t Waste Michigan, board of directors member (Kalamazoo chapter)


June XX, 2023

Dear Legislator,

The undersigned individuals and organizations, representing many thousands of Michiganders, implore you to oppose the $300 million bailout Holtec International has requested from the State of Michigan for the unprecedented, very high risk scheme to restart the closed Palisades atomic reactor in Covert Township, on Van Buren County’s Lake Michigan shoreline.

This subsidy is but one of many Holtec is seeking. The company has already applied to the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) for a billion dollar nuclear loan guarantee under the 2022 Inflation Reduction Act. It may yet still apply for another $1.2 billion subsidy from the 2021 Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act’s Civil Nuclear Credit program fund. In addition, Holtec has applied to DOE for another $7.4 billion in nuclear loan guarantees under the 2005 Energy Policy Act, for design certification, construction, and operation of four so-called Small Modular Nuclear Reactors (SMNRs) — more than one of which Holtec intends to site at Palisades, according to a Holtec spokesman at a meeting with the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) on March 20, 2023. (See page 6 of 32 of the transcript.)

Even after the massive subsidies listed above, Palisades would still need rate relief to operate in a competitive market. Holtec is seeking State of Michigan approval for a Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) with an unnamed area utility. Palisades’ previous PPA, between former owner Entergy and area utility Consumers Energy (itself the initial owner of Palisades), from 2007 to 2022, at times gouged service area residents, businesses, etc., up to 57% above market rates on their electric bills. (In fact, the end of that previous PPA was the reason why Entergy decided several years ago to retire Palisades by May 31, 2022.) Cheaper alternatives exist, and Michigan ratepayers should not be forced to bear the burden of paying higher electricity bill costs just to subsidize the exorbitant expense of Palisades’ resumed operations.

As ratepayers, as well as state and federal taxpayers, we and our organizational members and supporters regard these many billions of dollars of proposed public giveaways as unacceptable. The opportunity costs alone are outrageous. An equivalent amount of electricity could readily be generated by brand new renewables, such as wind and solar power, as well as storage and efficiency upgrades, sooner and more cost-effectively than the many billions of dollars Holtec seeks for the 56-year old reactor restart scheme. (Construction began on Palisades in 1967; the reactor operated for 51 years, from 1971 to 2022.) To learn more about the opportunity costs and other failures of nuclear power as a solution to the climate crisis, see a congressional briefing hosted by the Samuel Lawrence Foundation on June 2, 2023.

Palisades’ current extended 60-year license expires in 2031, meaning the massive public subsidies listed above would buy only six short years of electricity generation. 60 years of operations would be too dangerous, let alone any yet to be announced scheme for another license extension out to 80 years of operations.

Rather than supposedly priming the pump for bailing out Holtec’s restart of the dangerously age-degraded Palisades reactor, $300,000,000 of state taxpayer support could create significantly more good paying jobs by instead expanding community college programs to train solar and wind power technicians, developing corporate and governmental energy efficiency and storage programs, installing LED lighting across Michigan, and providing seed money to match for an intrastate interurban transit system’s initial planning, as but a few preferable examples.

As important as these monetary and energy policy issues are, our primary concern is safety, security, health, and environment. Palisades has long been infamous for its many dire safety risks. In 2006, Consumers Energy cited several needed major safety repairs and replacements, to the Michigan Public Service Commission, as its reason for selling the nuclear power plant to Entergy: reactor vessel head replacement; steam generator replacement; reactor vessel embrittlement concerns; fire protection requirements; containment coatings and sump strainers. The problem is, Entergy never made those promised fixes.

Entergy closed Palisades for good 11 days earlier than planned, on May 20, 2022, due to its latest control rod drive mechanism (CRDM) seal leak. Uniquely bad in all of industry, Palisades has never determined the root cause, nor performed more than BAND-AID fixes, on these CRDM seal leaks that date back to 1972.

To those multiple pathways to catastrophic reactor core meltdown listed above must now be added safety-significant systems, structures, and components (SSCs) that have not been properly maintained since Palisades was permanently shut down. These include the admittedly age-degraded steam generators themselves, as well as the turbine-generator. The latter, to the best of our knowledge, has not been rotated. If this is the case, it is gradually and inevitably bending under its own immense weight of hundreds of tons, risking a mechanical explosion during resumed operations that could hurl large chunks of metal into safety-significant SSCs throughout the facility. Just such a turbine-generator mechanical explosion, due to a bent shaft, took place at the Fermi Unit 2 atomic reactor in Frenchtown Township, in Monroe County, on Christmas Day, 1993, resulting in two million gallons of radioactive wastewater being dumped into Lake Erie.

What could be the consequences of a core meltdown at the age-degraded Palisades reactor? A 1982 report commissioned by NRC, and carried out by Sandia National Laboratory — CRAC-II (short for Calculation of Reactor Accident Consequences, also known as the Sandia Siting Study, or NUREG/CR-2239) — predicted very shocking casualty and property damage figures. They included a thousand peak early fatalities (acute radiation poisoning deaths), 7,000 peak early radiation injuries, 10,000 peak cancer deaths (latent cancer fatalities), and $52.6 billion in property damage.

Adjusting for inflation alone would increase property damages to $163.5 billion in current dollar values. Economic and real estate development since 1982 is not even accounted for. And as Associated Press investigative journalist Jeff Donn reported in his 2012 four-part series “Aging Nukes,” populations have soared around U.S. atomic reactors in the past four decades, meaning casualty figures downwind, downstream, up the food chain, and down the generations would be significantly worse now.

Holtec’s addition of multiple Small Modular Nuclear Reactors at the site would represent both extremes of the safety risk spectrum. Breakdown phase risks at the age-degraded Palisades reactor, and break-in phase risks at the SMNR new builds, would mean that domino effect multiple core meltdowns are possible, as happened at Fukushima Daiichi, Japan in 2011. The Chornobyl nuclear catastrophe in 1986 in Ukraine, the Three Mile Island Unit 2 core meltdown in Pennsylvania in 1979, and the Fermi Unit 1 “We Almost Lost Detroit” partial core meltdown in Michigan in 1966, are infamous, real world examples of break-in phase reactor failures.

Given Palisades’ Lake Michigan shoreline location, such risks imperil the Great Lakes downstream. 21% of the world’s, 84% of North America’s, and 95% of our country’s surface fresh water cannot be put at risk by this reckless “game” of radioactive Russian roulette.

The Palisades restart scheme represents an undue risk to public health, safety, and the environment, as well as our common defense and security. For this reason alone, NRC should not permit it. But this agency is completely captured by the industry it is supposed to regulate, and can be counted on to rubber-stamp Holtec’s every request, no matter how dangerous, nor how much of a mockery this restart scheme makes of NRC’s own regulations.

Holtec’s request for $300,000,000 from the State of Michigan can be regarded as a ticket purchase in the Holtec lottery, betting on a firm with zero experience in the unprecedented scheme of bringing back a “zombie reactor” from the dead, much less actually operating such a high-risk reactor as Palisades, on which Holtec will have cut maximum corners to get it back online. Entergy itself blew off a series of safety-significant upgrades and restorations, but compared with Holtec has vastly more reactor operating experience, and a better reputation. (See a “rap sheet” – by Nancy Vann of the Safe Energy Rights Group in Peekskill, NY, a watchdog on the company’s Indian Point nuclear power plant decommissioning – on Holtec’s, and its former consortium partner, SNC Lavalin’s, past misdeeds; see an annotated bibliography compiled by Beyond Nuclear; and, since early 2021, the Office of the Attorney General of the State of Michigan has challenged Holtec’s takeover of Palisades in the first place, due to its critical lack of financial assurance.)

Holtec’s multiple demands for state-level and federal bailouts, if approved, will be used as leverage for regulatory approval of restart, and vice versa. Due to the unacceptably high safety risks, as well as the onerous financial impacts on Michiganders, we urge you in the strongest possible terms to oppose both the $300 million subsidy request, as well as the Power Purchase Agreement Holtec seeks.

Thank you for your consideration. Representatives from our coalition would like to meet with you, and/or your staff, in person, or virtually, to further discuss our concerns. To arrange such a meeting, please contact Kevin Kamps at [email protected] or (240) 462-3216. He serves as radioactive waste specialist at Beyond Nuclear, as well as a board of directors member at Don’t Waste Michigan. Kamps has watchdogged Palisades for more than three decades, and would also be happy to answer any questions you may have.


Kevin Kamps
Radioactive Waste Specialist
Beyond Nuclear
7304 Carroll Avenue, #182
Takoma Park, Maryland 20912Cell: (240) 462-3216[email protected]

Beyond Nuclear aims to educate and activate the public about the connections between nuclear power and nuclear weapons and the need to abolish both to safeguard our future. Beyond Nuclear advocates for an energy future that is sustainable, benign and democratic.

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