Palisades Nuclear Generating Station

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Palisades Nuclear Power Plant
HD.6B.285 (11842463663).jpg
Palisades Power Plant in 1974
Official namePalisades Power Plant
CountryUnited States
LocationCovert Township, Van Buren County, near South Haven, Michigan
Coordinates42°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
Construction beganMarch 14, 1967
Commission dateDecember 31, 1971
Decommission date2022 (planned)
Construction cost$630 million (2007 USD)[1]
Owner(s)Entergy Nuclear
Operator(s)Entergy Nuclear
Nuclear power station
Reactor typePWR
Reactor supplierCombustion Engineering
Cooling sourceLake Michigan
Cooling towers2 × Mechanical Draft[a]
Power generation
Units operational1 × 805 MW
Make and modelCE 2-loop (DRYAMB)
Thermal capacity1 × 2565 MWth
Nameplate capacity805 MW
Capacity factor86.47% (2017)
70.50% (lifetime)
Annual net output6098 GWh (2017)
Palisades Power Plant (plant page)
Palisades Power Plant (plant site)

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.

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.

Built between 1967 and 1970, Palisades was approved to operate at full power in 1973.[3]

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.[4] 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. Therefore, the plant was then scheduled for decommissioning by 2031.[5]

Entergy plans to close the Palisades plant in 2022.[6] Earlier, Entergy had made a decision to close the plant in October 2018. A decision by the Michigan Public Service Commission (MPSC) influenced the company’s decision. Consumers Energy attempted to buy its way out of a power purchase agreement it has with Entergy and the plant. The MPSC didn’t approve Consumer Energy’s full request of $172 million, so Entergy decided to keep the plant open three years longer than planned.[7]

Surrounding population[edit]

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.[8]

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.[9]

Spent fuel storage[edit]

Spent fuel is 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.

Parts replacement[edit]

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.[10]

Seismic risk[edit]

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.[11][12]


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[edit]


  1. ^ 1 × Ecodyne 18-cell cross-flow induced draft cooling tower, and 1 × SPX Marley 16-cell cross-flow induced draft tower.[2] The plant originally used a once-through cooling system, but it was converted to the current closed-cycle cooling system just three years after entering commercial operation.[2]


  1. ^ "EIA - State Nuclear Profiles". Retrieved 3 October 2017.
  2. ^ a b Palisades - Final Safety Analysis Report Update, Revision 32, Chapter 10 - Steam and Power Conversion System (pdf) (Report). Nuclear Regulatory Commission. Retrieved 7 May 2018.
  3. ^ Swidwa, Julie (December 9, 2016). "Timeline: Palisades' rocky history". The Herald-Palladium. Retrieved December 9, 2016.
  4. ^ "Entergy News Release - Corporate". 2006-07-12. Retrieved 2016-12-09.
  5. ^ "Local News: Extension approved for Palisades Nuclear Power Plant, license, plant, nuclear -". 2007-01-18. Archived from the original on 2007-09-27. Retrieved 2016-12-09.
  6. ^ Newman, Alexandra (September 29, 2017). "Palisades to stay open to 2022". The Herald-Palladium. Retrieved September 29, 2017.
  7. ^ Galford, Chris (2017-09-29). "Palisades Nuclear Power Plant to continue operations until 2022". Daily Energy Insider. Retrieved 2017-10-10.
  8. ^ [1]
  9. ^ "Population rises near US nuclear reactors - US news - Life | NBC News". 2011-04-14. Retrieved 2016-12-09.
  10. ^ "Palisades Steam Generator Replacement Project-1992 NOVA Award Winner". Retrieved 2016-12-09.
  11. ^ "US nuke plants ranked by quake risk - World news - Asia-Pacific | NBC News". 2011-03-17. Retrieved 2016-12-09.

External links[edit]