DTE plant Fermi 2 gets license to operate until 2045

Holly Fournier
The Detroit News

The Fermi 2 nuclear power plant owned by DTE Energy Co. on Friday was granted a renewed license to operate until 2045 in Monroe County's Frenchtown Township, according to the energy company.

"This is excellent news for Monroe County and Michigan," said Paul Fessler, senior vice president and Chief Nuclear Officer at Fermi 2. "Continued operation of Fermi 2 ensures a consistent supply of clean, safe energy for our customers. Fermi 2 is an important part of DTE's balanced approach to providing energy to the community."

DTE filed for the renewal in April 2014 with the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, after two years of technical and environmental studies. Its original license, granted in 1985, was due to expire March 20, 2025.

The regulatory commission responded to DTE's renewal request by conducting "in-depth evaluations" to ensure the plant could safely operate until 2045. Those tests included audits, inspections and public meetings.

"Fermi 2 does, and always will, keep safety as its top priority," Fessler said. "This was a multi-year process all for one reason: we and the NRC wanted to make sure Fermi 2 can continue to operate safely well into the future."

Plant spokesman Guy Cerullo said officials had their eyes on safety when they applied for the renewal 11 years before the license was set to expire. Working a decade in advance is "par for the course" in the nuclear plant industry, he said.

"It's a big undertaking," he said of getting a plant upgraded to continually meet high safety standards. "It speaks to the nuclear industry and the great care we take with efficiency and safety."

Fermi 2 is located along Lake Erie in Monroe County's Frenchtown Township, where it has produced more than 200 million megawatt-hours of energy since it opened, officials said. It employs around 800 full-time workers.

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