The Biden administration will lend $1.5 billion to restart a nuclear power plant in Michigan, the first of its kind in the United States

The federal government will provide a $1.5 billion loan to Restart of a nuclear power plant In southwest Michigan, officials announced Wednesday.

Holtec International acquired the 800-megawatt Palisades plant in 2022 with plans to decommission it. But the focus now is on getting it back up and running by late 2025, after support from the state of Michigan and the Biden administration.

The state's governor, Gretchen Whitmer, said it would be the first nuclear power plant to reopen in the United States. It still faces hurdles, including inspections, testing and the blessing of the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, known as the NRC.

“Nuclear power is our largest single source of carbon-free electricity, directly supporting 100,000 jobs across the country and hundreds of thousands indirectly,” said Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm, a former Michigan governor.

The Palisades factory is located along Lake Michigan, a two-hour drive from Chicago. CMS Energy owned it in Michigan from 1971 until the plant was sold to Louisiana-based Entergy in 2007. It closed in 2022.

Holtec said it has long-term commitments so far from two electric cooperatives to purchase power from the plant.

“Repowering the Palisades will safely restore power around the clock for hundreds of thousands of households, businesses and manufacturers,” said Chris Singh, President and CEO of Holtec.

But critics emerged. The coalition opposing the restart of what it derisively calls a “zombie reactor” has requested a hearing at the Norwegian Refugee Council.

Holtec spokesman Patrick O'Brien said it would take four to five months to finalize the financial deal with the government.

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“It's a loan we have to repay,” he added.

Nuclear energy is in the spotlight. Thirty-four countries, including the United States, last week She pledged to use it to reduce dependence on fossil fuels. In California, regulators said in December The Diablo Canyon plant could operate until 2030 Instead of 2025 to protect against power outages as the state shifts toward renewable energy sources. The owner of Pacific Gas & Electric said federal aid helped her pay off the state loan.

“There is more enthusiasm for nuclear energy — in Congress, in industry, and internationally as well,” said Najmuddin Mishkati, an engineering professor at the University of Southern California who has inspected nuclear plants around the world.

But he said restarting the plant is not easy.

“It puts the onus and burden on the Nuclear Regulatory Commission and Holtec to redouble efforts to make sure this plant is safe enough and that all the safety measures are in place,” Meshkati said of Palisades.

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