MichMash: Michigan’s bipartisan support for nuclear power

State Rep. Graham Filler joins “MichMash” to discuss the bipartisan support in the Legislature for reopening Michigan’s Palisades nuclear plant.

The Palisades nuclear power plant in Covert, Mich., was sold to Holtec Decommissioning International in June 2022, a month after it was shut down.

The Palisades nuclear power plant in Covert, Mich., was sold to Holtec Decommissioning International in June 2022, a month after it was shut down.

Nuclear energy is often a contentious topic due to fear of radioactive waste and endangering human health. However, many laud nuclear power as a clean, zero-emission alternative to fossil fuels. The federal government recently announced a $1.5 billion investment to reopen Michigan’s Palisades Nuclear Power Plant. On this week’s episode of MichMash, Host Cheyna Roth and Gongwer News Services’ Alethia Kasben sat down with state Rep. Graham Filler (R-DeWitt) to discuss the reopening and Michigan’s relationship with nuclear energy.

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In this episode:

  • Bipartisan support for nuclear energy in the Michigan Legislature
  • The amount of nuclear waste Michigan has produced since the 1960s
  • Rep. Graham Filler’s last term in office

U.S. nuclear reactors have supplied nearly 20% of the nation’s power since the 1990s, according to the U.S. Department of Energy. Information Administration. Filler says in the state of Michigan, it used to be more.

“At our peak we used to generate 30% of the state’s energy from three nuclear plants,” he said. “We are a great nuclear state.”

Filler has gathered both Democrat and Republican support and helped author a nuclear bill package that he believes will help propel Michigan’s nuclear energy generation.  

One of the main concerns with nuclear energy is the radioactive waste that is often stigmatized with nuclear energy. Filler says he believes those concerns are dramatized.  

“All the nuclear waste created in the state of Michigan since the 1960s could fit on one football field. It is small spent fuel rods that go into triple-encased concrete,” he said. “This is not like the Simpsons where everything turns green and three eyed fish comes out of the water. That has been the most damaging thing as we try to talk openly about the small tiny amounts of nuclear waste.”

Filler also pointed out that there is no perfect energy source. Although the popular focus across the country is about solar energy, he says in a cloudy state like Michigan…solar isn’t as effective.  

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  • Hernz Laguerre
    Hernz Laguerre Jr. is a Multimedia Journalist at 101.9 WDET. He is one of the co-host for "Detroit Evening Report," one of the weekend anchors for "Weekend Edition," the producer for our political podcast, "MichMash," and reports on arts, culture and politics.