Progress Energy to Close Crystal River Nuclear Plant

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Progress Energy to Close Crystal River Nuclear Plant

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Progress Energy Florida's Crystal River 3 nuclear plant will not return to service, the company announced Tuesday. The reactor has languished offline since crews discovered damage to its containment building after a 2009 steam generator replacement, and the cost of repairs became a serious point of contention in the recent merger between Progress and Duke Energy.

Crystal River power plant. Source: Duke EnergyA report on the concrete problem last year concluded that repairs were possible, but "brought increased risks that could raise the cost dramatically and extend the schedule," according to a Duke release.The independent Zapata Inc. study placed those costs at between $1.5 billion and $3.4 billion.

“This has been an arduous process of modeling, engineering, analysis and evaluation over many months. The decision was very difficult, but it is the right choice," Duke Energy CEO Jim Rogers said in the release.

About 600 people work full-time at unit 3. Some will stay on as the utility decommissions the reactor, and according to the release, "The company will work with employees to help as many as possible make the transition to positions in other Duke Energy organizations." Jobs at the two coal-fired units at the plant will not be affected.

The utility reached a settlement with Nuclear Electric Insurance Limited for an additional $530 million. That will bring the total received from the insurer to $835 million, which Duke noted is the largest NEIL payout in history. Citing company figures, the Orlando Sentinel placed the cost of repairs to date at $338 million, with another $614 million spent on replacement power. Its decommissioning fund contains about $600 million, which is expected to cover the costs of closing the unit.

Crystal River 3 is a Babcock and Wilcox pressurized water reactor licensed in 1976, according to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission. Its license expires in 2016, and the agency received an application in 2008 to extend its life for a further 20 years. The nuclear unit about 80 miles north of Tampa generated 860 megawatts.

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  • EDITOR'S NOTE: This post was updated with further information on repair and replacement power costs, decommissioning and relicensing at 8:46 p.m., EST.

  • and what about those brand new steam generators they just installed?  This is a very unfortunate loss for the industry, both financially and image.

  • Add to that SONGS and Fort Calhoun which may not be restarted.

  • I suspected it in 2011!

  • TVA is allready hiring, Bill Johnson went from one failed utility to another.

  • So now, Duke can write it all off, Zero it out so to speak, sell it for a 1$ to come one who can put $1.3 Billion into a bargan.

  • If the costs to repair these 40 year plants continue to escalate, the big Mw plants will become less attractive than the SMR designs currently being an alternate cost consideration.

  • Really sorry to see this plant go. Doesn't anyone see the big picture on the governments and the minority liberals drive going on?? The EPA's and NRC must be basing in their glories over this. There are roughly 200 coal burning plants being shut down and now we are going for a string of Nuclear Plants. At this rate only "Tax Payer Funded Plants (TVA)" will be producing "rationed power" in this country. What ever happened to the greatest free enterprise engineering and construction talent in the world???

  • If in fact, as the Orlando Sentinel is quoted "$614 million spent on replacement power", it will be interesting to watch the lines of the cost of buying power and that of the cost of building "something" converge.  2014?