The final movement of spent nuclear fuel at the shuttered Kewaunee Power Station in Wisconsin, 35 miles southeast of Green Bay, has been completed, Dominion Energy, the plant's owner, announced Wednesday.
Dominion said the last of the spent fuel that needed to be moved into dry fuel storage on site had made its journey from the cooling pools to the storage facility. This marks a significant milestone in the decommissioning process and the connotes the last hurrah for about 90 workers at the plant out of the 140 permanent workers still employed there.
About 635 employees worked at the 556-megawatt reactor until it was closed down on May 7, 2013 after no solution had been found to stave off stiff economic headwinds. “At the time the decision was made to close Kewaunee, the station was facing the perfect storm of economic challenges including a weak electrical market,” said Dominion Energy Senior Vice President and Chief Nuclear Officer Daniel Stoddard. “All the stakeholders including government officials worked together to find a solution, but one was not found. Ultimately, Dominion Energy had no realistic alternative and was forced to close a unit that was no longer financially prudent to operate,” he said.
Currently, there are 140 employees remaining. However, with the last of the spent fuel moved into long-term on site storage, 90 of them will end their employment with the company of the next nine months as a result of completing all remaining activities to place the unit in a long-term storage condition, the company said.
Stoddard praised the employees who worked hard, despite knowing that their task, when completed, signified the end of their tenures with the company.
On the shores of Lake Michigan, the Kewaunee station began commercial operations in 1974, operating one pressurized water reactor designed by Westinghouse Electric Company. Dominion purchased the power plant in July 2005 and worked to renew its operating license, which was granted in February 2011. The unit, thus, was retired with 20 years left on its license, which was viable through 2033.
Dominion Energy continues to operate three nuclear power stations – the Millstone Power Station in Waterford, Conn., and the North Anna and Surry power stations in Louisa and Surry Counties in Virginia.
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