Due to troubles at the Kewaunee nuclear power plant, the Wisconsin Public Service Commission has agreed to allow its three utility owners to accelerate depreciation based on a plant retirement in 2002 instead of 2013. It also agreed to shorten the length of time decommissioning funds can be set aside.
The plant had shut down Sept. 20, 1996, for routine repairs and was expected to open one month later when damage to steam generators was found to be greater than expected. Replacing them would cost about $100 million. A new laser technology is being used for welding, but because of changes made to that process, NRC approval now must be obtained.
WPS Resources, the parent company of Wisconsin Public Service Corp., which is a 42-percent owner and plant operator, wants to go ahead with repairs, but the other two owners (em Wisconsin Power & Light and Madison Gas & Electric that own the remaining 52 percent (em do not.
Reports Kewaunee may shut down early are incorrect, WPS says. "We expect to get permission this year to replace the steam generators in 1999 so we can keep operating," says Clark Steinhardt, WPS senior vice president of nuclear operations. (em LB
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