Progress Energy nears permit for repair work at Crystal River nuke

The Florida Department of Environmental Protection on April 16 put out for public comment a draft air permit that Florida Power Corp. d/b/a Progress Energy Florida needs to build an on-site concrete batch plant that will be used to help repair the nuclear Unit 3 (CR3) at the Crystal River power plant.

The draft permit doesn’t change anything for the four coal-fired units at the Crystal River site. “This air construction permit authorizes the construction/installation of a 20,000 cubic yard per year concrete batch plant and additional ancillary equipment (diesel pumps and air compressors) to continue with the repairs of the wall of the concrete containment building that houses the Nuclear Unit 3,” said a DEP public notice. “These units will also be used to support other future projects, as needed. The Title V air operation permit revision incorporates the terms and conditions established by the air construction permit.”

Parent Progress Energy’s (NYSE: PGN) Feb. 29 annual Form 10-K report said about the reasons for this repair project: “During CR3’s fueling and maintenance outage that began in September 2009, PEF commenced a project to replace CR3’s steam generators. During preparations to replace the steam generators, workers discovered a delamination (or separation) within the concrete of the outer wall of the containment building, which resulted in an extension of the outage. In March 2011, engineers investigated and subsequently determined that a new delamination had occurred in another area of the structure after initial repair work was completed and during the late stages of retensioning the containment building.”

Progress Energy said that subsequent to March 2011, monitoring equipment detected additional changes and further damage in the partially tensioned containment building, with the company deciding that additional cracking or delaminations could occur during the repair process. Engineering design of the repair is under way. The preliminary cost estimate for the repair, as filed with the Florida Public Service Commission in June 2011, is between $900m and $1.3bn.

Under this repair plan, the company estimates that CR3 will return to service in 2014. The company noted that a number of factors could affect the repair plan, the return-to-service date and costs, including regulatory reviews, final engineering designs, contract negotiations, the ultimate work scope completion, testing, weather, the impact of new information discovered during additional testing and analysis, and other developments.

About Barry Cassell 20414 Articles
Barry Cassell is Chief Analyst for GenerationHub covering coal and emission controls issues, projects and policy. He has covered the coal and power generation industry for more than 24 years, beginning in November 2011 at GenerationHub and prior to that as editor of SNL Energy’s Coal Report. He was formerly with Coal Outlook for 15 years as the publication’s editor and contributing writer, and prior to that he was editor of Coal & Synfuels Technology and associate editor of The Energy Report. He has a bachelor’s degree from Central Michigan University.