July 25, 2014

Kewaunee nuclear power plant closes

After nearly 40 years of generating power, the Kewaunee nuclear power plant is now off the Midwest power grid. Officials say the facility in the Town of Carlton ended energy production late Tuesday morning.

Daniel Stoddard, senior vice president of nuclear operations for Dominion Resources, says the decision announced last year was not the result of a failure of technology, equipment or people. He says it was brought about by a change in “energy economics,” which has been influenced by power prices, costs, and geography.

The decision to close the plant was announced in October. Stoddard says all options were considered to keep Kewaunee open, including just putting it in stand-by mode. However, he says the energy market simply made it impossible to justify keeping the facility operational, with cheaper natural gas and coal giving nuclear power too much.

Half of the plant’s 630 employees will be phased out of their jobs by the end of the month. By 2014, about 100 people will remain working there to help decommission the facility. The process of removing fuel and dismantling equipment could take up to 60 years.

Brian Norton, WOMT