May 7 U.S. power company Dominion Resources Inc
shut the 566-megawatt (MW) Kewaunee nuclear power plant in
Wisconsin on Tuesday, as planned.
"We planned to shut at about noon today but are running a
little ahead of schedule. We closed the breaker a little bit
ago," Dominion spokesman Mark Kranz told Reuters before noon.
Dominion announced in October it would shut Kewaunee, even
though its operating license does not expire until 2033, after
failing to find a buyer for the plant due to economic reasons
related in part to low natural gas and power prices.
Kewaunee, a pressurized water reactor, entered service in
1974 and is located on the shore of Lake Michigan, about 27
miles (43 km) southeast of Green Bay, Wisconsin.
Kewaunee is the second U.S. reactor to be retired this year.
The last group of reactors was retired in the late 1990s.
Earlier this year, Duke Energy Corp said it would
retire its 860-MW Crystal River 3 reactor in Florida, due in
part to the uncertain cost of replacing the unit's containment
Crystal River 3 had been shut since 2009 when its
containment structure was damaged during a power upgrade and
replacement of the unit's steam generators.
Kranz said there are 632 workers at the plant. Dominion
plans to lay off about 200 people at the end of May and another
100 or so at the end of June, he said.
By September 2014, the company expects to have about 293
workers and will stay at about that level for the plant
Kewaunee does not pay property tax but it does pay utility
tax on the generation it produces. Kranz could not say exactly
what the plant paid in total taxes but that it gave just under
$1 million a year to Kewaunee County and about $425,000 a year
to the town of Carlton, Wisconsin, where the plant is located.
Kranz said the company and the state were in discussion
about future taxes.
Dominion bought Kewaunee from Wisconsin utilities Wisconsin
Public Service, now a unit of Integrys Energy Group Inc
and Wisconsin Power and Light, a unit of Alliant Energy Inc
, in July 2005 for about $220 million.
In October, Dominion said it would record a $281 million
after-tax charge in the third quarter of 2012, related to the
closing of the reactor.
Dominion also said in October that the reactor's
decommissioning trust is currently fully funded and the company
believes the amount available in the trust plus expected
earnings will be sufficient to cover all decommissioning costs.