10 May (NucNet): After generating 148 million megawatt-hours of electricity during nearly four decades in service, operators disconnected Dominion’s Kewaunee nuclear plant from the grid at 11:00 local time on 7 May 2013.
The 535-megawatt Westinghouse pressurised water reactor, on Lake Michigan in Wisconsin, began commercial operation on 16 June 1974.
Dominion acquired the unit from Wisconsin Public Service Corporation in 2005, but later tried unsuccessfully to sell it.
Dominion’s decision in October 2012 to close the unit came as Kewaunee’s power purchase agreements were ending amid low projected electricity prices in the region, the Nuclear Street website said. Kewaunee turned out to be the only reactor the company could acquire in the region, leaving it unable to benefit from the economies of scale associated with proximity to other Dominion reactors.
“This decision was based purely on economics. The employees have operated the station safely and well,” said David Heacock, Dominion’s chief nuclear officer.
Workers will begin placing the plant into safe storage (Safstor) starting by moving the 121 fuel assemblies from the reactor into the spent fuel pool. US federal regulations allow 60 years for the utility to completely decommission the site.
Follow NucNet on Twitter @nucnetupdates