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Power Company Closes Nuclear Plant

by Jeff Johnson
October 29, 2012 | A version of this story appeared in Volume 90, Issue 44

Kewaunee plant
Credit: Dominion
Photo of Dominion’s Kewaunee Power Station in Wisconsin
Credit: Dominion

Citing economics, the Virginia-based power company Dominion said last week it would permanently close and eventually decommission its Kewaunee nuclear power plant in Carlton, Wis. The shutdown, set for next year, will mark the first U.S. nuclear power plant to be permanently shuttered since 1998, according to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission. The facility began operation in 1974. In 2011, NRC extended its operating license for an additional 20 years, until 2033. Dominion had been trying to sell the Kewaunee facility but was unsuccessful, it says. A combination of factors, particularly low wholesale electricity prices in the upper Midwest region, made it uneconomical for the power plant to continue operating, Dominion says. At 556 MW, the facility is small by nuclear plant standards, about half the size of the largest plants. Calling the closure an “extremely difficult decision,” Dominion CEO Thomas F. Farrell II says: “This decision was based purely on economics. Dominion was not able to move forward with our plan to grow our nuclear fleet in the Midwest to take advantage of economies of scale.”


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