Wednesday, June 20, 2018
Business

Status update set for Oct. 30 to discuss future of Crystal River nuclear plant

The state Public Service Commission plans to discuss Progress Energy Florida's pending decision to repair or shut down the broken Crystal River nuclear plant at a hearing Oct. 30.

The status update comes just before Progress' parent company, Duke Energy, is scheduled to hold its quarterly investor call Nov. 8 and as the utility is set to enter negotiations with its insurance company about paying for repairs to the nuclear plant.

If utility executives decide to fix the plant, they must begin work by the end of the year under a settlement agreement with the state or refund customers $100 million for the purchase of replacement power. Progress already agreed to give back $288 million to customers for replacement power expenses because Crystal River is out of service.

The nuclear plant has been idle since 2009, when Progress shut down the reactor to replace old steam generators. During the project, the reactor's 42-inch-thick concrete containment building cracked and a subsequent attempt to repair it led to more cracks.

Repairing the nuclear plant could cost as much as $3.5 billion, according to an independent report commissioned by Duke Energy, plus hundreds of millions in replacement power costs.

Commissioner Eduardo Balbis is scheduled to conduct the status update.

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