Holtec International on Dec. 4 said that it has started a program to build two small modular reactor units at the Palisades Nuclear Power Plant site in Michigan. Holtec is pursuing the repowering of the Palisades plant.
Holtec said that Palisades is on track to be restarted by the end of 2025.
The addition of two Holtec SMRs near the existing 800-megawatt plant will nearly double the Michigan site’s total carbon-free generation capacity, the company said.
Holtec’s twin SMR-300 reactors are designed to produce a minimum of 300 MW (net-electric) power “under the most adverse climate conditions and water-challenged regions (forcing the use of air instead of water for rejection of the plant’s waste heat),” it said.
The filing of the Construction Permit Application for the two SMRs is targeted for 2026, shortly after the existing Palisades plant returns to service.
Target commissioning date for the first SMR-300 plant is mid-2030, subject to the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission’s regulatory reviews and oversight of the SMRs.
Holtec’s SMR has been in development since 2011 undergoing several design evolutions, the most recent of which is the incorporation of forced flow capability overlayed on gravity-driven flow in the plant’s primary system.
The addition of booster pumps for normal operations does not change the plant’s essential safety features, as the pumps are not relied upon for safe shutdown operations, it said.
Holtec said that the 700-acre Oyster Creek site, also owned by Holtec and located in Central New Jersey, is another favored domestic location for early SMR-300 deployments, it said.
That 600-MWe plant was shuttered in 2018 and has been substantially decommissioned by Holtec.
The focus for deployment of Holtec’s SMR-300 at Oyster Creek has turned to hydrogen production due to the ongoing electricity market dynamics, it noted.
The technical assessments will advance deployment of SMR-300s at Oyster Creek to accord with the mission of a recent DOE award to the Mid-Atlantic Regional Clean Hydrogen Hub (MACH2), of which Holtec is a member, the company said.
Holtec International recently submitted a filing with the NRC to formally begin the process of seeking federal reauthorization of power operations at the Palisades Power Plant in Covert Township, Michigan.
In early 2023, Holtec applied to the U.S. Department of Energy’s Loan Programs Office for federal loan funding to repower Palisades.
The company said it is working cooperatively with DOE to move the loan application process forward.
On July 31, 2023, Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer signed into law the State of Michigan’s Fiscal Year 2024 budget, which provides $150 million in funding for the plant’s restart.
And on September 12, 2023, Holtec jointly announced a multi-decades long power purchase agreement with Michigan rural electric cooperative Wolverine Power Cooperative for the sale of Palisades’s power output.