Wisconsin regulators have approved plans from Wisconsin Electric Power Co. to spend $38.4 million on containers to house spent nuclear fuel at the Point Beach nuclear plant. The Wisconsin Public Service Commission voted unanimously to allow Wisconsin Electric to build up to 36 storage units at Point Beach to accommodate a growing supply of spent nuclear fuel the plant is currently not equipped to store. Wisconsin Electric applauded the decision as a move to keep the plant operating at a time when utilities are under pressure to add new power generation capacity.
Without permission to add to the storage capacity, Point Beach would have been forced to close by 2005. In one analysis, the utility estimated that replacing the capacity of Point Beach with natural gas-fired power plants and energy conservation would have cost consumers $1.82 billion.