Wisconsin’s Kewaunee nuclear plant to close in 2013
Carlton, WI, United States (4E) – The owners of the Kewaunee Power Station has announced Monday that the plant will shut down in the second quarter of 2013, which would put hundreds of people out of work, after no buyer was found for the 556-megawatt nuclear facility located in Carlton, Wisconsin.
Around 650 plant workers were informed about the decision by Dominion, which owns the power plant, that has been for sale since April of 2011.
The company’s senior vice president of nuclear operations, Dan Stoddard, claimed that the decision was a difficult but a necessary one. He added that “although there was more than one factor that went into the decision, the primary reason for the move is economic — namely the lower price of energy.”
Stoddard also said that other economic reasons influenced the move, including the plant’s smaller size, the expiration of the power purchase agreements, and “being geographically isolated from other company assets and not having other units around for economies of scale.”
Layoffs will start as production is phased out.
According to Stoddard, the company has not been able to lay out all the options for all the employees but things will be made from a benefit standpoint to encourage employees to stay.
Local union representatives confirmed that termination agreements with workers are still being negotiated.
Kewaunee’s Mayor John Blaha said that the closure will affect not only the company’s 650 employees and related industries, stating that “people spend money here, not only restaurants, but buying gas and they visit all the local establishments.”
Thomas F. Farrell II, Dominion chairman, president and CEO noted that the company’s top priority will focus on safety. He added that “we intend to take all steps necessary to ensure the protection of the public, employees and the environment during the remaining period of power generation, as the station is shut down, and throughout the decommissioning process.”
Dominion revealed that there is going to be an environmentally safe decommissioning plan, with the assistance of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, after the plant closes down. The nuclear fuel will be transported to cooling pools, which will be moved into dry storage casks and will remain on site until the federal government takes control of the waste.
The land can be utilized for something else only after 60 years.
Kewaunee Power Station began commercial operation in 1974. Dominion acquired the plant in 2005.