This week nuclear regulators take questions on latest shutdown at Palisades Nuclear Plant

Jul 15, 2013

Federal regulators will host a public meeting this week to recap the latest shutdown of the Palisades Nuclear Plant. The plant restarted about a month ago after fixing a water leak.

The leak was small; about 80 gallons of slightly radioactive water drained into Lake Michigan in May. Regulators say the leak did not pose a threat to public safety. The plant was shut down for more than five weeks to make repairs.

The leak was caused by a faulty weld in a huge water tank that’s not used during normal operations. In a public document, officials from Entergy, the company that owns Palisades, said the cause of the leak was a crack in a weld in the tank:

“The poorly performed weld was an isolated human performance error by a contract welder utilizing poor welder technique.”

But the incident was the latest in a string of problems at Palisades. The plant has shut down 10 times in the past 2 1/2 years. Many of them were caused by equipment problems or human error; the latest shutdown included.

Nuclear regulators will discuss the cause of the shutdown and the repairs on Tuesday. They’ll take questions from the public during the online meeting set for 5:30 p.m. Those who wish to listen in should preregister at this link by today.

The nuclear power plant in Covert Township in southwest Michigan is one of three in the state.