Consumers Wants Nuke Renewal

April 27, 2005
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SOUTH HAVEN — CMS Energy has asked the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) for a 20-year renewal of its license to operate the Palisades nuclear power plant.

Located near South Haven, the plant’s current NRC license expires in 2011. Consumers Energy owns the facility, which is operated by the Nuclear Management Co. (NMC). NMC filed the license renewal application yesterday on behalf of Consumers Energy, the principal subsidiary of CMS Energy.

The NRC has approved license renewals for 30 nuclear generating units and is reviewing the applications submitted for 19 others. The United States has 103 licensed nuclear power plants, which generate about 20 percent of the nation’s electricity.

The Palisades plant employs about 600 people and can produce up to 789 megawatts, enough to serve a community of 500,000.

Robert Fenech, Consumers Energy’s senior vice president of nuclear, fossil and hydro operations, said the Palisades renewal application reflects the plant’s importance to the utility’s 1.75 million electric customers.

“Palisades generates about 18 percent of Consumers Energy’s electricity and has been supplying customers with safe, low-cost energy since 1971. A proactive maintenance program, major capital investments, and continuous training have contributed to the safe and reliable operation of the plant,” Fenech said.

“The license renewal that we’ve requested will allow the plant to continue to serve customers beyond 2011 and to operate in the same manner that it does today, with continued high standards and stringent regulatory oversight by the NRC.”

Fenech noted the plant claimed in 2004 the continuous generating record for Consumers Energy and CMS Energy power plants, operating for 478 consecutive days.

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