Palisades Nuclear Generating Station

Palisades Nuclear Power Plant

Palisades Nuclear Generating Station
Location of Palisades Nuclear Power Plant in Michigan
Country United States
Location Covert Township, Van Buren County, near South Haven, Michigan
Coordinates 42°19′22″N 86°18′52″W / 42.32278°N 86.31444°W / 42.32278; -86.31444Coordinates: 42°19′22″N 86°18′52″W / 42.32278°N 86.31444°W / 42.32278; -86.31444
Status Operational
Commission date December 31, 1971
Decommission date By 2030
Construction cost $149 million
Operator(s) Entergy Nuclear
Nuclear power station
Reactor type pressurized water reactor
Reactor supplier Combustion Engineering
Power generation
Units operational 1 CE x 800 MW
Average generation 5,826 GWh

The Palisades Nuclear Generating Station is a nuclear power plant located on Lake Michigan, in Van Buren County's Covert Township, Michigan, on a 432-acre (175 ha) site 5 miles (8.0 km) south of South Haven, Michigan, USA. Palisades is owned and operated by Entergy. It was operated by the Nuclear Management Company and owned by CMS Energy Corporation prior to the sale completed on April 11, 2007. It was built at a cost of $149 million.

Its single Combustion Engineering pressurized water reactor weighs 425 tons and has steel walls 8 12 inches (220 mm) thick. The containment building is 116 feet (35 m) in diameter and 189 feet (58 m) tall, including the dome. Its concrete walls are 3 12 feet (1.1 m) thick with a 14-inch-thick (6.4 mm) steel liner plate. The dome roof is 3 feet (0.91 m) thick. Access is via a personnel lock measuring 3 feet 6 inches (1.07 m) by 7 feet 8 inches (2.34 m). The Westinghouse Electric Company turbine generator can produce 725,000 kilowatts of electricity. It first generated electricity December 31, 1971.

On July 12, 2006 it was announced that the plant would be sold to Entergy. On April 11, 2007, the plant was sold to Entergy for $380 million.[1] The plant's original licensee was due to expire on March 24, 2011. An application for 20-year extension was filed in 2005 with the Nuclear Regulatory Commission. It was granted on January 18, 2007. The US Nuclear Regulatory Commission has stated they will not renew the reactor's license. Therefore, the plant is scheduled for decommissioning by 2031, with on site security slated through the year 2180.[2]

Surrounding population

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission defines two emergency planning zones around nuclear power plants: a plume exposure pathway zone with a radius of 10 miles (16 km), concerned primarily with exposure to, and inhalation of, airborne radioactive contamination, and an ingestion pathway zone of about 50 miles (80 km), concerned primarily with ingestion of food and liquid contaminated by radioactivity.[3]

The 2010 U.S. population within 10 miles (16 km) of Palisades was 28,644, a decrease of 4.5 percent in a decade, according to an analysis of U.S. Census data for The 2010 U.S. population within 50 miles (80 km) was 1,326,618, an increase of 4.4 percent since 2000. Cities within 50 miles include South Bend, IN (45 miles to city center) and Kalamazoo, MI.[4]

Spent fuel storage

Spent fuel rods are stored outdoors in 21 16-foot-tall (4.9 m) storage casks, each containing 30 tons and resting on a concrete pad. This was intended to be a temporary solution until the spent fuel repository at Yucca Mountain nuclear waste repository opened. However, the NRC is no longer considering the Yucca Mountain site an option for storing reactor waste.

Parts replacement

Two steam generators were replaced in 1992. This involved cutting a 28 by 26 foot opening through the 3.5-foot-thick (1.1 m) reinforced concrete wall. The removed units are stored in a large concrete building on plant property.[5]

Seismic risk

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission's estimate of the risk each year of an earthquake intense enough to cause core damage to the reactor at Palisades was 1 in 156,250, according to an NRC study published in August 2010.[6][7]


View from Van Buren State Park

Like all U.S. nuclear power plants since September 11, 2001, public access to Palisades is prohibited. However, Palisades can be glimpsed from the neighboring Van Buren State Park.

See also


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