Dominion Shuts Down Nuclear Plant -- Forever

After announcing last fall that it would close its 556 MW Kewaunee, Wis., nuclear station, Dominion (NYSE: D  ) finally pulled the shutters today on its 40-year-old power plant.

The possibility of decommissioning the facility emerged from Dominion's inability to capture economies of scale with its Midwestern nuclear fleet, but the exact timing of the closure was more immediately determined by projected cheap wholesale electricity prices at a time when Kewaunee's current power purchase agreements were up for renewal.

"This decision was based purely on economics," said Dominion Nuclear President David Heacock in a statement. Looking ahead, Heacock noted: "[T]his closing does not herald the end of our company's commitment to nuclear power. It is a safe, reliable, and carbon-free technology, but as with all forms of generation, it must compete on economics, including the necessity of being price competitive on a regional level."

This announcement comes just one week after Duke Energy (NYSE: DUK  ) suspended plans for new nuclear units at a North Carolina site, citing lack of necessity after electricity growth projections have fallen in recent months.


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