Duke to Sell Unused Nuclear Fuel from Crystal River 3

On Wednesday, Duke Energy announced plans to sell unused fuel from its shuttered Crystal River 3 nuclear plant, presumably left over from an incomplete 2009 refueling outage.

Crystal River power plant. Source: NRCAt that point, the plant also planned to replace steam generators but encountered severe concrete delamination after cutting a hole through the reactor's containment structure. Duke Energy, which acquired the plant as part of its merger with Progress Energy, decided repairs would be uneconomical and announced it would decommission the unit last year.

In a request for proposals posted to its website, Duke indicated it would take bids from licensed power plants and fuel fabricators for 76 unirradiated Areva Mk-B-HTP-1 fuel assemblies. In addition to price, the utility said it will also consider safety, delivery schedule and delivery procedures in its selection. Duke hired CKA Associates to assist with bid selection.

Crystal River 3 is a Babcock & Wilcox lowered loop pressurized water reactor that operated from 1977 to 2009. Duke operates three B&W lowered loop units of the same size at its Oconee Plant in South Carolina. According to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, two other U.S. plants are also of the B&W lowered-loop design: unit 1 at Entergy's Arkansas Nuclear One and unit 1 at Exelon's Three Mile Island. NRC records also indicate that FirstEnergy's raised-loop B&W PWR at Davis-Besse in Ohio has used similar Areva fuel. 

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