Expediting SMR Construction?!

[Here is an audio recording of the meeting described below, provided by Kraig Schultz of Michigan Safe Energy Future-Shoreline Chapter in Grand Haven, MI. Public statements begin at the 55 minute mark of the recording. They came from: Schultz, MSEF; Kevin Kamps, Beyond Nuclear; Mary Lampert, Pilgrim Watch, Massachusetts; Jan Boudart, Nuclear Energy Information Service of Chicago; and Michael Keegan, Don’t Waste Michigan, Monroe.

Michigan Radio has reported on this story.]


For immediate release

Contact: Kevin Kamps, radioactive waste specialist, Beyond Nuclear, (240) 462-3216, [email protected]


Nuclear Regulatory Commission Meeting with Holtec to Expedite Small Modular Reactor Construction at Nuclear Plant Decommissioning Sites, Despite Risks

WASHINGTON, D.C., MA, MI, NJ, and NY, November 1, 2023—The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) will meet virtually with Holtec International on Wednesday, November 1, 2023 beginning at 1:30pm Eastern Time.

As stated in NRC’s Meeting Details:

The purpose of this pre-application meeting is to discuss questions regarding the Limited Work Authorization process to support the Construction Permit for the Holtec SMR-160 design [Small Modular Reactor, each with 160 Megawatts-electric generation capacity]. Portions of this meeting may be closed to discuss proprietary information. Members of the public interested in observing the meeting should email the NRC Meeting Contacts…to obtain additional information.

The link above also includes additional links to relevant Holtec documents.

The NRC Staff Contacts who can provide the Microsoft Teams virtual meeting coordinates, as well as teleconference call-in numbers, are:

Carolyn Lauron, 301-415-2736, [email protected]; and Manny Sayoc, 301-415-4084, [email protected].

The meeting agenda includes an open session from 1:30 to 2:30pm ET (Holtec presentation followed by discussion with NRC from 1:30 to 2:20pm, and then public comments/questions from 2:20 to 2:30pm), and a closed session from 2:30 to 3:30pm ET (described as discussion of “proprietary information”). See NRC’s Meeting Info. Representatives of Beyond Nuclear, Don’t Waste Michigan, and other concerned environmental watchdog groups plan to attend and hope to make comments. (Beyond Nuclear’s Kevin Kamps has expressed opposition to Holtec’s scheme for SMR new builds at Palisades since the trial balloon was first floated.)

Even though Holtec’s SMR-160 reactor design is not yet certified, Holtec is seeking this so-called Limited Work Authorization (LWA — site preparation, auxiliary building construction, etc.) in order to break ground as quickly as possible on SMR-160 new builds at Palisades, MI [pictured above], Oyster Creek, NJ, and perhaps additional sites. Such LWA rubber-stamps by NRC intensify pressure on the agency to simply approve the overall SMR new build project(s), due to Holtec’s expenditures and “facts on the ground,” even if problems emerge later.

As revealed in a State of Michigan Freedom of Information Act response obtained by Beyond Nuclear, Holtec plans to construct so-called Small Modular Reactors (SMRs) at permanently shutdown nuclear power plant sites where its supposed objective was decommissioning only. Holtec floated its SMR new build trial balloons at: Oyster Creek, NJ several years ago; Palisades, MI in April, 2022; and at Big Rock Point, MI in June, 2022.

Then, in September, 2022, Holtec announced abandonment of its decommissioning pledge at the dangerously age-degraded, more than half-century old Palisades reactor, and instead announced it is seeking $3.3 billion+ in federal and state bailouts to pursue an unprecedented, high-risk “zombie” reactor restart scheme.

And, as reported in a recent Beyond Nuclear press release, Holtec secretly confided to the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) in July, 2022 that Indian Point, NY, Pilgrim, MA, and any additional permanently closed nuclear power plants it acquires in the future in order to (supposedly) decommission are all fair game for SMR new builds. In fact, banking such sites for future SMR new builds is its main motivation, not decommissioning, Holtec admitted.

Holtec has also applied to DOE for an additional $7.4 billion in federal taxpayer-backed nuclear loan guarantees for the design certification, construction, and operation of four SMR-160s. This is the exact number Holtec has proposed building at Palisades, MI. Such nuclear loan guarantees are risk- and interest-free, for Holtec at least. If Holtec defaults on the loan repayment, federal taxpayers are left holding the bag.

And just days before this year’s annual commemoration of the 1986 Chornobyl nuclear catastrophe, Holtec announced its scheme to build 20 SMR-160s in war-torn Ukraine.


Beyond Nuclear is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit membership organization. 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. The Beyond Nuclear team works with diverse partners and allies to provide the public, government officials, and the media with the critical information necessary to move humanity toward a world beyond nuclear. Beyond Nuclear: 7304 Carroll Avenue, #182, Takoma Park, MD 20912. [email protected]. www.beyondnuclear.org.

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