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Robert Trigaux

March is latest restart date for Progress Energy Crystal River nuclear plant under repair




Wake up and good morning. We've heard restart dates before that have later been delayed, so take this with a grain of salt. But Progress Energy Florida is now looking at March 2011 to start up its Crystal River nuclear power plant based in Citrus County north of Tampa Bay after what will be a repair outage of a year and a half. As reported by Reuters, Progress Energy will begin to tighten tendons this week in a repaired section of the containment building wall at its sole Florida nuclear plant as it works to restart the unit by the end of March, company spokesman Mike Hughes said.

(Photo: The gap, on the left of this 2009 image next to cylindrical tendons, is about 9 inches deep inside the containment wall at the Crystal River nuclear plant. Courtesy of Progress Energy.)

The 838-megawatt nuclear unit has been shut since September 2009 to refuel and replace the giant steam generators, work that originally had been expected to take three months. But a month into the outage, contractors discovered a gap in the 42-inch thick containment building wall which had been opened to allow removal and replacement of the steam generators. Progress determined that the gap in the wall was caused by initial work to release tension on the structural cables that reinforce the concrete wall. 

That repair effort has delayed the unit's return, forcing the utility to buy replacement power to serve its 1.6 million Florida customers. As reported by Reuters, starting this month the Florida Public Service Commission is allowing Progress to recover replacement power costs not covered by insurance from customers.

-- Robert Trigaux, Times Business Columnist

[Last modified: Wednesday, January 5, 2011 7:42am]


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