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Monday
Mar302015

Raided Palisades' decommissioning fund $100 million short of minimum dismantlement/clean-up price tag

Entergy Nuclear's Palisades atomic reactor, located on the Lake Michigan shoreline in Covert, MIAs admitted by Entergy to NRC on March 30, 2015 (see page 17 & 18 on the PDF counter), the Palisades atomic reactor's (photo, left) decommissioning trust fund is $100 million short of the minimum total needed.

Palisades has in hand only $384 million, of the $485 million needed.

That $485 million price tag must be taken with a grain of salt, as a significant underestimate. Palisades has suffered decades of radioactive leaks -- as recently as March 19, 2015 (a 100 gallon "migration" of tritium from degraded steam generator tubes, ultimately into the environment). This lingering radioactive contamination will add substantially to Palisades' low-balled decommissioning price tag estimate.

What makes this decommissioning fund shortfall all the more objectionable is the fact that in 2007, the fund was raided by the previous owner, Consumers Energy, and Entergy, as part of the sales agreement. The Michigan Public Service Commission blessed this unacceptable raid. Around $100 million went into Consumers Energy's pockets. Around $100 million went into Entergy's pockets. And around $100 million was refunded to ratepayers -- apparently to "justify" the raid, and/or to quiet dissent.

But now ratepayers will get to pay back into the decommissioning trust fund, to compensate for the raid. And Entergy, as well as NRC, are justifying the continued operation of the dangerously age-degraded Palisades reactor, at least in part, on the need to rebuild the raided decommissioning fund!