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Kewaunee Power Station to close in 2013

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Kewaunee Power Station (Photo source: U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission)
Kewaunee Power Station (Photo source: U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission)

TOWN OF CARLTON, WI (WTAQ) - Dominion Resources Inc. officials say that they plan to close and decommission the Kewaunee nuclear power plant next year.

The Richmond, Viriginia-based company says they will close and decommission the Kewaunee Power Station in the second quarter of 2013. Officials have been trying to sell the plan since April of 2011, but have been unable to find a buyer.

"The biggest factor is the market price of power," says Senior Vice President of Nuclear Operations Dan Stoddard. "With natural gas prices, some coal prices in this region, the price of power is a real challenge."

Company leaders contend it would be “uneconomic” for the plant to continue running.

Kewaunee Power Station began running in 1974. Dominion bought the plant from Wisconsin Public Service Corp. and Alliant Energy in 2005.

The plant employs roughly 650 people and, according to its website, generates 556 megawatts of electricity from its unit, which is enough to power 140,000 homes.

"The employees of Kewaunee have been doing an outstanding job, and this decision is in no way a reflection on them," Dominion chairman, president and CEO Thomas F. Farrell II said in a statement. "I want to thank them for all they have done, and Dominion will work to make the transition as smooth as possible for them and their communities."

Local union representatives say the company hasn't reached termination agreements yet with workers.

“This is going to affect our guys that are out here no doubt,” said Mike Augustine with the Local 400 Plumbers and Steamfitters union. “We're going to have to end up putting the different units to work and maybe the different contractors that will maybe move from here down to Point Beach, depending on what plays out here."

Kewaunee's mayor says losing Dominion impacts more than just the company's 650 employees and related industries.

“The people spend money here, not only restaurants, but buying gas and they visit all the local establishments,” Mayor John Blaha tells FOX 11. “It's going to have a huge impact, especially if a number of these people need to relocate.”

Dominion says it will start an environmentally safe decommissioning plan after the plant closes down. The nuclear fuel will be transferred to cooling pools. Then it will go into dry storage casks. The fuel will be stored on site until the federal government takes control of the waste. The company says it will be 60 years before the land can be used for something else.

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