7 May 2013

Kewaunee Plant in Wisconsin Closed

On 7 May 2013, Dominion, “one of the nation’s largest producers and transporters of energy”, closed its Kewaunee nuclear power plant in Wisconsin. The plant owner had intended to sell the facility but failed to identify a buyer. The 39-year old 535 MW reactor was first connected to the grid on 8 April 1974 and is the second US reactor to shut down in 2013, after operator Progress Energy decided in February to close Crystal River for good. The decision is particularly remarkable as “despite its operating licence being extended for a further 20 years until 2033, no buyer was found”, as the nuclear lobby publication World Nuclear News (WNN) notes. Indeed, the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) had issued a lifetime extension only in February 2011 (see also US Nuclear Plant to Close After Failing to Attract a Buyer). Dominion had bought Kewaunee in July 2005. According to WNN, decommissioning is to begin immediately. Dominion has stated in the past that the decommissioning fund of $392 million, that were transferred to Dominion when it purchased the plant, would be sufficient to cover the costs.