Troubling situation at Entergy-run Nuclear Plan in Michigan

by L J Furman, MBA on April 23, 2012

in Nuclear Energy

Palisades Nuclear Plant

Palisades Nuclear Plant, Lake Michegan

In A Return To ‘Safety First’ For Michigan Nuclear Plant, NPR correspondent Lindsey Smith reports,

The Palisades nuclear power plant in Michigan had five unplanned shutdowns last year. It’s one of the area’s biggest employers, and its safety record is one of the worst in the country. Now it’s trying to prove to federal regulators that it can meet their standards.

On the shores of Lake Michigan, the Palisades Power Plant is tucked in between tall sand dunes in Covert Township, Mich., at the southern edge of Van Buren State Park. Kathy Wagaman, who heads the chamber of commerce in South Haven, 7 miles north of Palisades … said  “They’ve been a very good neighbor” … “and I just feel confident that they’re taking good care of this.”

The title, however, says it all. “A RETURN to ‘Safety-First.’ Clearly, based on their record, safety has not been Entergy’s number one priority at Palisades.  Marcy, at Empty Wheel, presents a first hand report on the tritium leak of Sept, 2011, here.

And as the title suggests, others are not as sanguine as the head of the Chamber of Commerce.  On March 25, Smith reported “Some living near Palisades Nuclear Plant worry about safety violations.” Maynard Kauffman & Barbara Geisler own a farm 11 miles east of the plant. Their farm is powered by two small scale wind turbines and a solar array. The 1,800 square foot home is heated with a ceramic stove.

Back in September, 2011, Jim Hayden, at the Holland Sentinel, on 9/25/2011, wrote “Allegan County’s Emergency Management prepares for the worst.” For example, the Emergency Management agency stockpiles non-radioactive iodine for distribution, altho, it might be wiser to distribute iodine BEFORE an emergency, so it wouldn’t have to be distributed DURING an emergency. Beyond that, which might be considered a “minor” detail, emergency management agencies prepare for “emergencies.”  They don’t prepare for business as usual. And as the image below (courtesy of Nuclear Power Danger . com shows, the radioactive plumes from Palisades and the DC Cook plants  are extensive and overlapping. However, given that radioisotopes are invisible and undetectable without specialized equipment, the dangers are not obvious.

Radioactive Plumes from Cook and Palisades

Radioactive Plumes from Cook and Palisades, Courtesy of NuclearPowerDanger.com

Basic financial information on Entergy is on Google Finance and Entergy’s Investor Relations page. I have no plans to do a thorough financial analysis of Entergy. At best, it’s like Tokyo Electric Power Company, TEPCO, before the Fukushima disaster.It sells electricity generated by attempting to harness nuclear fission. Most of the time things are more or less predictable and the cash flows are good, because many costs are externalized to the taxpayers. However, nuclear plants vent tritium and heavy water and produce radioactive wastes, and are vulnerable to acts of earthquakes, floods, terrorism, and other acts of man and “Acts of God.”

Information from Entergy about it’s fleet of nuclear power plant can be found here, with links to each plant in the list below.

  • Arkansas Nuclear One, Russellville, Arkensas, online, offline, generating electricity and radioactive waste since 1974
  • Cooper, Missouri River, north of Omeha, Nebraska, since 1974
  • Fitzpatrick, New York, Oswego County, on Lake Ontario, since 1975
  • Grand Gulf, Port Gibson, Mississippi, since 1985
  • Indian Point, Buchanon, NY, since 1969
  • Palisades, SE shores of Lake Michigan, since 1971
  • Pilgrim, Salem, Massachusetts, since 1972
  • River Bend, St. Francisville, Louisiana, since 1986
  • Vermont Yankee, Vernon, Vermont, since 1972
  • Waterford 3, Killona, Louisiana, since 1985.

This post, on another blog is critical of Palisades.

See also these earlier posts:

 

 

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