No plans yet for nuclear power plant land, U.S. official reports during community meeting
CARLTON — A panel of officials from the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission made a stop locally Tuesday evening to update local residents on the decommissioning of the Kewaunee Power Station. About two-dozen people attended the meeting and only two asked questions.
The Kewaunee nuclear power plant, located in the Town of Carlton, went offline permanently on May 7, 2013, five years after the co-owners — Green Bay-based Wisconsin Public Service Corporation and Alliant Energy of Madison — sold the facility to Richmond, Virginia-based Dominion Resources.
Dominion was attempting in 2008 to put together a network of second-hand nuclear plants to produce electricity for the wholesale market.
However, the plan was thwarted by cheaper natural gas prices that allowed electric producers to cut rates to big customers, making the Kewaunee plant too expensive to continue operating.
Bruce Watson, chief of the Reactor Decommissioning Branch of the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, said his team was visiting shuttered plants in more than a dozen locations, including a brief visit to the site of the former Genoa Nuclear Plant near LaCrosse. That plant was demolished after shutting down in 1987.
The Kewaunee decommission process has been slow going as it took two years to reach an agreement on the economic issues related to the shutdown, Watson said.
The plant's buildings remains in place and spent nuclear fuel rods are stored on the site pending movement to a permanent U.S. storage facility not yet developed.
The biggest unanswered question about the Kewaunee plant “is what the property's owner, Dominion, plans to do with the land," Watson said. "We have not heard anything from Dominion on that issue.”
According to online references, the plant site along State 42 in the southeast corner of Kewaunee County encompasses some 900 acres.
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This article originally appeared on Green Bay Press-Gazette: No plans yet for nuclear power plant land, U.S. official reports during community meeting