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Palisades nuclear plant shuts down a few days early for upgrades, refueling

Mark Savage

The Palisades nuclear plant shut down this morning. The plant near South Haven was scheduled to shut down Sunday, according to a plant spokeswoman, but it shut down automatically after part of the turbine generator system failed.

“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,” Site VP Tony Vitale said in a written statement.

Before this relatively long run without a shutdown, Palisades had a series of problems that forced the plant to shut down. You can find a timeline here.

The longest Palisades has gone without a shutdown is 478 days, Palisades spokeswoman Lindsay Rose said. That’s about 2 months shy of a “breaker to breaker,” the full 18 months that Palisades could go before refueling.

In addition to refueling, about 1,000 workers are in town to help with equipment maintenance and safety improvements prompted by the Fukushima accident. The investment is worth $50 million, Rose said.

She says they don’t know the cause of the turbine generator system failure this morning yet. The system is “a non-nuclear, non-safety related system.” It’s the part of the plant that uses steam to spin large turbines to create electricity.

Lindsey Smith helps lead the station's Amplify Team. She previously served as Michigan Radio’s Morning News Editor, Investigative Reporter and West Michigan Reporter.
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