Is Palisades Nuclear Power Station Safe

Is Palisades Nuclear Power Station Safe

Yes. Our first priority at Palisades Power Plant is to operate our nuclear facility safely. Palisades is a safe and secure facility, and we have a Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) license to operate through 2031. We remain in Column 1 – the highest safety category – of the NRC’s Reactor Oversight Process, alongside nearly 80 other safely operating US nuclear plants.

The plant staff is frequently and rigorously trained, drilled and evaluated to deal with any emergency. We have an aggressive inspection process to identify and mitigate minor issues before they become problems. The plant can be shut down and the nuclear fission process stopped in less than two seconds. In fact, the plant will shut down automatically if even one safety component malfunctions.

Structural safety is another intrinsic element to ensure the continued operation of the plant. The containment structure around the reactor provides multiple physical layers of protection. In fact, the containment building has four primary layers of safety built in:

  1. Nuclear fuel – The fuel itself is actually designed to contain the radioactive gases generated during the fission process
  2. Reactor coolant system – Within the system there are multiple cooling capabilities, each with backup systems in place to ensure the cooling process continues without interruption.
  3. Primary containment structure – This consists of a one-inch thick steel wall surrounded by a wall of steel-reinforced concrete five feet thick. This ensures that radioactivity is contained even in the most serious situations.
  4. Reactor building – This is the secondary containment level. In addition to having walls of two more feet of steel-reinforced concrete, the building itself is kept at a lower atmospheric pressure level than the outside air to keep any radioactivity inside. Anyone entering this building must pass through an air-lock door which helps to maintain the negative pressure area.

In fact, Three Mile Island is a perfect example of how well all of these components work. Studies conducted by the University of Pennsylvania at 10 and 20 years following the 1979 incident show there were no adverse health effects from the event, further supporting the claim that the safety systems worked as they should have.

Nuclear power plants are very safe and nuclear power generation has proven to be the safest way to produce large amounts of electricity. The U.S. nuclear industry has operated for more than 30 years without a single nuclear-related fatality.

To read more about nuclear safety at Palisades Nuclear Power Station, click here.