Dominion (NYSE: D) today shut down its 556-megawatt Kewaunee Power Station permanently, ending almost 40 years of nuclear-generated electricity at the station located about 35 miles southeast of Green Bay on Lake Michigan.
Dominion announced last fall that it would close the station and decommission it because the company was unable to grow a Midwestern nuclear fleet to take advantages of economies of scale and Kewaunee's power purchase agreements were ending at a time of projected low wholesale electricity prices in the region.
"This decision was based purely on economics. The dedicated employees have operated the station safely and well," said David Heacock, president of Dominion Nuclear and chief nuclear officer of Dominion. "We will keep our focus on safety as we transition the station toward decommissioning."
Kewaunee went into service on June 16, 1974. Operators began reducing power output at the station at 8 a.m. CDT and opened the electrical output circuit breakers shortly after 11 a.m. CDT, which removed the unit from the Midwest ISO transmission system. Over its life, the power station generated about 148 million megawatt-hours of electricity.
"Kewaunee Power Station achieved nearly 40 years of clean, safe and reliable operation, which is a testament to nuclear technology and the dedicated former and current employees," Heacock said. "The company has taken steps to assist Kewaunee employees during the transition process and in the coming months will begin working to place the station's systems safely in storage for decommissioning."
In the weeks ahead, station personnel will begin removing all 121 fuel assemblies from the reactor and storing them in the used fuel pool before commencing activities to place the unit in SAFSTOR, a U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission-approved method for long-term monitoring and storage of a closed nuclear unit. Under federal law, the company must decommission the unit and return the site to a green field condition within 60 years.
"This closing does not herald the end of our company's commitment to nuclear power," Heacock said. "It is a safe, reliable and carbon-free technology, but as with all forms of generation, it must compete on economics, including the necessity of being price competitive on a regional level."