Dominion Energy’s Kewaunee Power Station achieved a significant milestone on June 15, 2017, when employees working to permanently decommission the facility safely transported the last of the used nuclear fuel to a dry fuel storage facility located on site.
Since the beginning of 2017, employees at the station have been safely transferring used nuclear fuel from the facility’s spent fuel pool into dry storage containers as part of the company’s ongoing decommissioning effort.
“The Kewaunee team never wavered on their commitment as professionals in the face of knowing that, for many, their jobs were coming to an end with Dominion Energy,” said Daniel G. Stoddard, Dominion Energy Senior Vice President and Chief Nuclear Officer. “They completed this important decommissioning work with a dedication to excellent performance that sets the standard for the industry.”
The company permanently closed the 556-megawatt nuclear station on May 7, 2013, after exhausting every effort to keep the station operating. “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,” Stoddard said. “All of 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.”
Kewaunee station employed about 635 employees at the time the unit was closed. Currently there are 140 employees remaining at the facility, and 90 of them will end their employment with the company over the next nine months as a result of completing all remaining activities to place the unit in a long-term storage condition.
Kewaunee Power Station, located on Lake Michigan about 35 miles southeast of Green Bay, began commercial operation in 1974. It operated one Westinghouse pressurized water reactor. Dominion acquired the station in July 2005. In February 2011, the NRC renewed the station’s operating license for an additional 20 years, until 2033.
Under the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission’s regulatory requirements for the SAFSTOR decommissioning option — chosen by the company for the Kewaunee station — radiological contamination must be safely removed and sent to a facility authorized to accept the material within the 60-year period.
Dominion Energy operates three nuclear power stations — the Millstone Power station in Waterford, CT, and the North Anna and Surry power stations in Louisa and Surry counties, Va., respectively. Millstone produces enough electricity to power more than 2 million homes in New England and North Anna and Surry power stations generate enough electricity to power 870,000 homes in Virginia.