US-based energy technology company Holtec International is seeking regulatory approval for the restart of operations at the 800MW Palisades Power Plant in Covert Township, Michigan.

The company has filed an application with the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) to formally begin the process of federal re-authorisation.

The filing follows a series of public meetings with NRC staff to facilitate the repowering of Palisades within the NRC’s existing regulatory framework.

Palisades operated in the NRC’s highest safety category, and completed consecutive high-production runs, prior to its shutdown in May last year.

Holtec shut down the power plant after discovering a problem with the control rod drive seal and competition from natural gas-fired electricity and renewable energy.

Palisades will become the first successfully restarted nuclear power plant in the US.

Holtec International vice president of licensing, regulatory affairs and probabilistic safety analysis Jean Fleming said: “We understand the importance of nuclear power in our nation’s energy mix and the critical role it plays in providing safe, reliable, carbon-free electricity here in Michigan.

“Palisades’ safety and operational performance met the industry’s highest standards when it was taken offline last year.

“Its systems and equipment remain well-maintained and in excellent material condition. This licensing submittal is the first of a series of submittals intended to return Palisades to full operation.”

Earlier this year, Holtec filed an application with the US Department of Energy (DoE), seeking federal loan funding to repower Palisades.

The company is working closely with the US DOE to advance the loan application process and secured $150m in funding from the state of Michigan, in July this year.

Last month, Holtec signed a power purchase agreement (PPA) with Michigan’s not-for-profit rural electric cooperative Wolverine Power Cooperative for the power generated by Palisades.

According to the company, repowering of the Palisades facility will enhance Michigan’s carbon-free energy generation, and grid reliability of the region, decreasing reliance on energy imports.

The re-opened power plant will employ more than 600 employees with a payroll of over $80m and will create around $500m in secondary economic activity in the area.

Holtec International nuclear generation and decommissioning president Kelly Trice said: “Holtec plans to build up the Palisades site into a mega-clean energy provider to the region with the restarted Palisades Power Plant as its centrepiece.”