Florida PSC reviews outage at Crystal River 3 nuclear plant

A prehearing officer for the Florida Public Service Commission will hold a status conference Oct. 30 to review issues surrounding the Crystal River 3 nuclear plant since Duke Energy (NYSE: DUK) merged with Progress Energy in July.

In fall 2009, during a maintenance and upgrade project, a crack occurred in the concrete containment building that surrounds Crystal River’s nuclear reactor. The plant has been out of service since then.

The Florida PSC opened a docket to oversee Duke Energy subsidiary Progress Energy Florida’s engineering analysis and to fully investigate the extent of the plant’s extended outage and its replacement fuel and projected repair costs.

This is one of the regular status conferences that the Florida PSC is holding on the nuclear plant. The PSC, like the plant owner, is trying to determine whether it would be more prudent to repair Crystal River 3 or merely to replace its output with generation from another source.

Duke recently made public a consultant’s report that indicated it is technically feasible to repair the plant but doing so would be costly.

The utility said Oct. 1 that a technical review done in March by Zapata Inc. suggested that repairing the 860-MW nuclear unit could cost $1.49bn. The “worst case” scenario for the plant could involve a cost of $3.43bn with a 96-month repair work schedule.

The Zapata report will be discussed during the upcoming meeting.

During the Oct. 30 status conference, the PSC is scheduled to hear from witnesses from the state, Progress Energy Florida, the Florida Industrial Power Users Group, the Florida Retail Federation, the Southern Alliance for Clean Energy and White Springs Agricultural.

The docket number in the case is No. 100437-EI.

About Wayne Barber 4201 Articles
Wayne Barber, Chief Analyst for the GenerationHub, has been covering power generation, energy and natural resources issues at national publications for more than 20 years. Prior to joining PennWell he was editor of Generation Markets Week at SNL Financial for nine years. He has also worked as a business journalist at both McGraw-Hill and Financial Times Energy. Wayne also worked as a newspaper reporter for several years. During his career has visited nuclear reactors and coal mines as well as coal and natural gas power plants. Wayne can be reached at wayneb@pennwell.com.