Entergy’s Palisades one of latest nuclear units to start refueling

Entergy’s (NYSE: ETR) 811-MW Palisades nuclear power plant in Michigan is one of the most recent nuclear facilities to enter a regularly-scheduled refueling and maintenance outage.

Control room operators removed the plant from service at shortly before 10:30 a.m. Sunday, April 8, an Entergy spokesperson said in an April 10 email.

During the outage, a total of 64 fuel assemblies will be replaced in the reactor. In addition, other major work to be conducted includes: a reactor vessel head inspection; replacing five control rod drive seals; conducting inspections of the steam generators; inspecting the moisture separator and re-heater heat exchangers; and rebuilding main feed pumps 1A and 1B mechanical seals.

A total of 1,165 supplemental workers will join the Palisades permanent staff for complete refueling outage work, the Entergy official said.

Like most nuclear operators, Entergy does not disclose outage duration times and estimated return to service times in advance.

The single-unit pressurized water reactor began operation in late 1971. In 2007 Entergy purchased the plant from CMS Energy (NYSE: CMS) subsidiary Consumers Energy for $380m, according to the Palisades website. The plant, located on 432 acres in western Covert Township in Van Buren County, is currently licensed to operate until 2031.

In late September 2011, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) sent a special inspection team to Palisades to review an unexpected reactor shutdown.

Most U.S. nuclear power plants typically conduct refueling and maintenance outages every 18 months, usually in the spring or fall.

Some other Midwest reactors subject to recent announcements about them undergoing regular refueling outages include American Electric Power’s (NYSE: AEP) Donald C. Cook 2 and DTE Energy’s (NYSE: DTE) Fermi 2, both located in Michigan.

Reactors in California, Florida, Nebraska, South Carolina and Texas have made headlines of late for extended, unplanned outages.

About Wayne Barber 4201 Articles
Wayne Barber, Chief Analyst for the GenerationHub, has been covering power generation, energy and natural resources issues at national publications for more than 20 years. Prior to joining PennWell he was editor of Generation Markets Week at SNL Financial for nine years. He has also worked as a business journalist at both McGraw-Hill and Financial Times Energy. Wayne also worked as a newspaper reporter for several years. During his career has visited nuclear reactors and coal mines as well as coal and natural gas power plants. Wayne can be reached at wayneb@pennwell.com.