Generation, Nuclear, Policy & Regulation

Dominion retires 556 MW Kewaunee nuclear power plant

Dominion shut down its 556 MW Kewaunee Power Station permanently, ending almost 40 years of nuclear power generation at the station located about 35 miles southeast of Green Bay on Lake Michigan.

Dominion announced in fall 2012 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, May 7, which removed the unit from the Midwest ISO transmission system. Over its life, the power station generated about 148 million megawatt-hours of electricity.

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.