April 25, 2014

Kewaunee Nuclear Power Plant cleared to shut down

Regulators have given owners of the Kewaunee Nuclear Power Plant approval to permanently shut down the facility over the next few months. The decision comes after the Midwest Independent Transmission System Operator determined the power grid would not see a drop in reliability as a result of decommissioning the facility.

Dominion Resources said last fall it would shut down the plant as soon as April of this year. The company said it was left with no choice because it could not find a buyer and had been unable to reach a new agreement with utilities to buy the power it was producing. Some of that difficulty is due to the fact that it’s currently cheaper for utilities to buy wholesale energy produced from natural gas.

The Kewaunee plant has been operating since 1974. Dominion Resources of Virginia bought it in 2005. The nearby Point Beach Nuclear Plant at Two Rivers will keep operating. It has utility power purchase agreements that run through 2030, when that plant’s operating license is due to expire.