September 16, 2015
Covert, Michigan – Following its second longest period of continuous service, Palisades Nuclear Power Plant shut down this morning earlier than planned due to an apparent equipment problem to begin a refueling and maintenance outage that puts 1,600 skilled professionals and a $58 million investment to work in southwest Michigan.
The refueling outage was originally scheduled to begin Sept. 20, however following an automatic plant shutdown early this morning personnel began transitioning to the refueling outage schedule to ensure safe, effective use of time and resources. The automatic shutdown was due to an equipment failure associated with the turbine generator system, a non-nuclear, non-safety related system. All plant equipment functioned normally following the shutdown.
“As a result of the hard work and commitment of our employees, we’ve had an exceptional operational run since returning to service from our last refueling outage in March of 2014,” said Palisades Site Vice President Tony Vitale. “We are marking the end of 447 days of safe, reliable clean energy generation – the second longest period of continuous service in Palisades’ history and a testament to our efforts to improve reliability at Palisades.”
Entergy is investing $58 million and has brought in approximately 1,000 skilled, temporary workers to assist the plant’s 600 full-time employees to complete the refueling and other important upgrades, inspections, and replacements that can only be completed while the plant is shut down. This influx of human and financial capital will bring additional economic activity to Southwest Michigan through the dozens of vendors and hundreds of additional contract workers – some of whom are coming to the area from as far away as Kansas, Texas and Rhode Island – who will spend their money locally on a variety of goods and services, from hotels and dining to shopping for household goods and purchasing fuel for their cars.
In addition to equipment maintenance and reactor refueling, Palisades will complete safety enhancements ordered after the 2011 Fukushima nuclear accident, an additional $50 million safety investment. Those enhancements will serve as even greater, more robust defenses against significant postulated external events, such as tornados, flooding and earthquakes.
Palisades was online generating electricity more than 98 percent of the time since it returned to service from its previous refueling outage in March 2014. U.S nuclear power plants are among the most reliable electricity generators, operating on average more than 90 percent of the time.
Entergy Corporation is an integrated energy company engaged primarily in electric power production and retail distribution operations. Entergy owns and operates power plants with approximately 30,000 megawatts of electric generating capacity, including nearly 10,000 megawatts of nuclear power, making it one of the nation’s leading nuclear generators. Entergy delivers electricity to 2.8 million utility customers in Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi and Texas. Entergy has annual revenues of more than $12 billion and approximately 13,000 employees.