Holtec is infamous for lying

Halt Holtec AFES tee shirt

[Tee shirt graphic art, above, by Noel Marquez, co-founder of Alliance for Environmental Strategies (AFES) in southeastern New Mexico.]

Holtec is infamous for lying. Or at least for major reversals. Also known as con jobs. A few examples:

(1.) Holtec said beginning in 2020 that it wanted to take over the Palisades nuclear power plant in Michigan in order to decommission it — that is, dismantle facilities, clean up radioactive contamination, manage highly radioactive waste, and restore the site for non-nuclear uses. But in April 2022, Holtec CEO Krishna Singh floated the trial balloon of instead building so-called “Small Modular Reactors” at the Palisades site — the exact same bait and switch trick he had pulled at Oyster Creek, New Jersey some years earlier. But then Singh and Holtec topped even that con game, by announcing on September 9, 2022 that it had applied to the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) on July 5, 2022 (just a week after taking ownership of Palisades) for billions of dollars in bailouts, in order to restart the closed-for-good, extremely high-risk reactor, an unprecedented action.

(2.) Speaking of that July 5, 2022 application to DOE for $2 billion in Civil Nuclear Credit funds, Holtec got rejected, the company announced, on November 18, 2022. At least in part because their application was so half-baked. Responding to the rejection by DOE, Holtec announced it was done trying to restart Palisades, and would instead return to its promised mission, to decommission the severely age-degraded, and permanently shutdown, jalopy. But then, a month later, on December 20, 2022, Holtec reversed itself, pledging to again seek the unprecedented reactor restart, paid for by massive U.S. taxpayer bailouts via DOE. Given this on again, off again con game, Holtec’s statement on January 8, 2024, reported by E&E, that it would not again seek CNC bailouts (it would only seek a billion dollars in interest- and risk-free DOE nuclear loan guarantees, Holtec claimed!), is dubious at best. Burn me once…burn me twice…In fact, an article in Canary Media dated January 18, 2024 indicates that not only did Holtec apply for the CNC funds a second time (something it seemed to deny in the Jan. 8 E&E article above), but that it would apply again — and perhaps again — until it finally succeeds. If Canary Media’s reporting is accurate, Holtec’s latest reversal regarding CNC funds (“roughly 2 billion dollars worth,” as Holtec put it in its 7/5/22 applation) happened within just ten days.

(3.) Holtec included a lengthy environmental justice (EJ) section in its July 5, 2022 application to DOE for billions in bailouts to restart Palisades. The EJ policy is also posted at its website. Remarkably, the dozen or so EJ principles Holtec listed are all violated by its proposed high-level radioactive waste dump, in New Mexico, as but one example. Many of said EJ principles are also violated by the Palisades reactor restart and SMR new build schemes. Similarly, DOE granting Holtec $2 million as a “team lead” on its “Consent-Based Siting” for high-level radioactive waste consolidated interim storage facilities is rich — Holtec has been violating New Mexico’s consent regarding its CIS facility targeting the majority minority (Latinx and Indigenous) “Land of Enrichment” for many long years now!

(4.) From April 2022 to December 2023, Holtec and its CEO, Krishna Singh, proposed building four SMR-160s (so-called “Small Modular Reactors” of 160 Megawatts-electric each) at the tiny 432-acre Palisades site, immediately adjacent to the more than 800 MW-e zombie reactor Holtec wants to restart there. But then on December 5, 2023, Holtec reversed itself. Now instead of four SMR-160s, Holtec announced it intended to build two SMR-300s at Palisades — an SMR reactor design that it had not even announced before. Note that the “small” part isn’t so small any longer — especially considering that Big Rock Point in the northwest of Michigan’s Lower Peninsula, Palisades’ sibling reactor, released a shocking 3+ million curies of hazardous radioactivity, despite “only” being 67 MW-e. Likewise, the “We Almost Lost Detroit” Fermi 1 reactor, a mere 67 MW-e, had an infamous partial core meltdown on October 5, 1966. The “modular” part is also very questionable, as well! Oh, and Holtec would like a $7.4 billion DOE loan guarantee (interest-free, risk-free) to pay for it all! Adding the $4.5+ billion in bailouts tied to the unprecedented, high-risk reactor restart, that’s nearly $12 billion in federal and state taxpayer bailouts — not to mention $412.5 million+ per year in overpriced sales, gouging ratepayers on their electric bills, for the next few decades, in the form of a Power Purchase Agreement

(5.) Holtec CEO Krishna Singh praised Commonwealth Edison/Exelon Quality Assurance (QA) inspector, Oscar Shirani, for identifying a flaw in neutron radiation shielding materials in Holtec containers for high-level radioactive waste, in the 1990s. But when Shirani, as well as Nuclear Regulatory Commission whistleblower, Dr. Ross Landsman, later identified a plague of QA violations associated with Holtec containers for storage and transport of high-level radioactive wastes, Singh took the gloves off. Actually, first Singh tried to bribe the whistleblowers, offering them jobs at Holtec — they could name their salaries — provided they shut up about the QA violations. Both whistleblowers declined the bribe offer. When Beyond Nuclear’s Kevin Kamps questioned Holtec CEO Singh about these whistleblowers’ QA concerns, at the April 1, 2017 (Nuclear Fool’s Day!) Holtec press conference at a congressional office building on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C., announcing its CISF application to NRC, Singh proceeded to ad hominem attack Shirani — even though Shirani had passed on a decade earlier!

These are but a few examples of many, showing Holtec’s duplicity. To learn more, check out an annotated bibliography by Kamps, about Holtec’s radioactive skeletons in the closet. Also check out a “rap sheet” about Holtec, prepared by Nancy Vann of the Safe Energy Rights Group in New York, an Indian Point watchdog.

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