Kewaunee Nuclear Plant Powers Down for the Last Time

After generating 148 million megawatt-hours during nearly four decades in service, operators disconnected Wisconsin's Kewaunee nuclear plant from the Midwestern grid at 11 a.m. Tuesday.

The 556 megawatt Westinghouse reactor near Green Bay entered service June 16, 1974. Dominion acquired the unit from Wisconsin Public Service Corp. in 2005 but later tried unsuccessfully to sell it. Dominion's decision last fall to close the plant came as Kewaunee's power purchase agreements were ending amid low projected electricity prices in the region. Kewaunee turned out to be the only reactor the company could acquire in the region, the Green Bay Press Gazette noted, leaving it unable to benefit from the economies of scale associated with proximity to other Dominion reactors.

"This decision was based purely on economics. The dedicated employees have operated the station safely and well," David Heacock, Dominion's chief nuclear officer, said in a release. "We will keep our focus on safety as we transition the station toward decommissioning."

Workers will begin placing the plant into SAFSTOR, starting by moving the 121 fuel assemblies from the reactor into the spent fuel pool. Federal regulations allow 60 years for the utility to completely decommission the site.

During that time, 50 to 100 people will continue to work at the plant, according to WFRV news. An update in late March indicated about half of the 632 people working at the plant will lose their jobs this year, with 202 positions scheduled for elimination at the close of this month.

Anonymous comments will be moderated. Join for free and post now! 

  • Anonymous
    Anonymous

    Hopefully, those who are loosing their jobs have new ones have alternatives lined up already. Retirement, early-out, new jobs?

  • Anonymous
    Anonymous

    Not all of us have Jobs. Its really not about the Jobs but the families and lives turned upside down. It's a real same one of the best plants in the world was shut down for "economics".  What a waste of a good plant and a lot of great people.