Nuclear power plant could reopen by March

Progress Energy's Crystal River Nuclear Power Plant could be back online by March 31, although the exact date has not been decided.

A Progress Energy spokesman said the utility expects to finish repairs and bring the plant back online within the first quarter.

In September 2009, the plant had shut down for a planned refueling outage and to replace the steam generators inside containment. To move the two 550-ton steam generators into the containment building, workers began removing concrete to create the necessary 25-by 27-foot opening because the reactor building’s equipment hatch was too small for the generators.

During that work, a crack in the concrete was found in that area. The Crystal River containment is about 42 inches thick, contains both horizontal and vertical tensioned steel tendons, and is lined with steel plate. The crack was found about nine inches from the outer surface of the concrete.

Progress Energy has spent about $250 million in repairs to the containment concrete.

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