14 February 2013

Crystal River Reactor Shut Down for Good

Nuclear operator Progress Energy, now owned by Duke Energy, has decided not to complete repair and uprating of its 36-year old Crystal River reactor that has been offline since late 2009. The 825 MW Pressurized Water Reactor (PWR) in Florida, US, had been shut down for regular refueling, maintenance and steam generator replacement when significant deterioration (delamination or crack) in the concrete containment was identified. Repair was evaluated as a possible option but by 2012 it was concluded that “nature and potential scope of repairs brought increased risks that could raise the cost dramatically and extend the schedule”. Trade journal Nucleonics Week reported that costs of repairing the containment could range between $1.5 billion and “the worst case”, new walls and dome, $3.4 billion. Work could stretch between 35 months and 96 months, it was estimated. Under those conditions, Duke Energy’s CEO Jim Rogers concluded: “We believe the decision to retire the nuclear plant is in the best overall interests of our customers, investors, the state of Florida and our company.” Duke Energy intends to put the plant into safe enclosure (SAFSTOR) in order to fully decommission it in 40-60 years.