Closed Kewaunee County nuclear power plant to be decommissioned in 10 years instead of 50 after sale
CARLTON – Decommissioning and redeveloping the former Kewaunee Power Station nuclear energy plant is now expected to happen 30 to 40 years quicker than originally planned, and it'll bring new jobs to Kewaunee County.
EnergySolutions, a Salt Lake City-based company, entered into a definitive agreement to buy the plant from the current owner, Dominion Energy, with the goal of completely decommissioning the site within 10 years instead of the 40 to 50 years that remained under Dominion's plan.
The 566-megawatt nuclear power plant was shut down by Dominion on May 7, 2013, and the Virginia-based energy company completed the used nuclear fuel transfer to an onsite dry fuel storage facility in June 2017. The remaining decommissioning work will be completed by EnergySolutions and will result in the complete dismantlement of the facility and removal of radioactive waste, with a planned start in 2022.
Ben Nelson, executive director of the Kewaunee County Economic Development Corp., said EnergySolutions is expecting to spend about $85 million a year on the decommission and plans to work with local contractors when possible. Nelson told the Kewaunee County Star-News the work will create about 200 new jobs in the county.
“Moving into prompt decommissioning will provide a positive economic impact to the township of Carlton as well as Kewaunee County by creating jobs within the local community and provide opportunities for local vendors and subcontractors,” Nelson said in a press release.
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It won't be known for some time what will happen to the 900 acres of land where the plant is located once everything is taken down, but it's hoped the site will become available for redevelopment that would bring the property back onto the tax rolls. County Administrator Scott Feldt said besides the boost in jobs during the decommission, it's also a plus that the site might be redeveloped 30 to 40 years sooner than anticipated.
"The positives … one, it's an opportunity for a lot of local businesses to assist in the decommissioning process," Feldt told the Star-News. "Two, because the decommissioning process is only taking about 10 years, we'll be able to get the property redeveloped and used that much quicker."
Feldt also noted the sale doesn't affect the yearly $500,000 payment Dominion makes to the county as part of an agreement it reached with Carlton following the closure. The payments started in 2017 and were set to continue for 10 years, so six years are left in the deal.
EnergySolutions is considered one of the leading radioactive waste management and disposal companies in the nation. It recently completed decommissioning work at the La Crosse Boiling Water Reactor and the Zion Nuclear Power Station in Illinois, and other current projects include decommissioning the historic Three Mile Island Unit-2 in Pennsylvania.
“This project will fit nicely within our decommissioning project portfolio and we are looking forward to applying our industry-leading decommissioning and waste management experience to this project,” EnergySolutions President and CEO Ken Robuck said in a press release.
With the definitive agreement signed, EnergySolutions and Dominion Energy will finalize the required regulatory filings and begin the application process to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission for the transfer control of NRC licenses, after which EnergySolutions will accelerate the decommissioning schedule.
Contact Christopher Clough at 920-741-7952, 920-562-8900 or [email protected].
This article originally appeared on Green Bay Press-Gazette: Closed Kewaunee County nuclear power plant to be decommissioned in 10 years instead of 50 after sale