Kewaunee enters retirement

07 May 2013

Electricity generation at Dominion's Kewaunee nuclear power plant in Wisconsin ended today after almost 40 years of operation.

The utility announced in October 2012 that it would close Kewaunee by mid-2013 after failing to find a purchaser for the plant. It subsequently informed the Nuclear Regulatory Commission that operation would cease on 7 May.

After powering down the plant's single 574 MWe pressurized water reactor, Dominion planned to disconnect the plant from the grid at 12.00pm today.

Kewaunee (Dominion)
Kewaunee (Image: Dominion)

Kewaunee began operating in 1974 and was sold to Dominion by Wisconsin Public Service and Wisconsin Power & Light in July 2005 for $220 million in cash, including $36.5 million for fuel. At that time, Dominion anticipated establishing a portfolio of nuclear units in the Midwest region.

However, the company's failure to successfully bid for other suitable plants in the region when they became available diminished the strategic rationale for retaining Kewaunee and in April 2011 the company announced that it had decided to sell. Despite its operating licence being extended for a further 20 years until 2033, no buyer was found.

Decommissioning activities at the site will now begin. Some $392 million in decommissioning funds for Kewaunee were transferred to Dominion at the time it bought the plant. The company has previously said that plant's decommissioning trust was sufficient to cover all decommissioning costs.

Dominion continues to own and operate reactors at the Millstone, North Anna and Surry plants.

Researched and written
by World Nuclear News