Decision to close nuclear power plant mulled by Progress

Progress Energy is weighing whether to continue repairs at its 860 MW Crystal River Unit 3 nuclear power plant or shut it down instead, according to the Tampa Tribune.

Fixing cracks in the containment building so far has cost $150 million and buying electricity to replace the lost generation from Crystal River has cost $290 million, but Progress said it maintains insurance on from outages through the Nuclear Electric Insurance Limited.

"Any decision to retire the facility first would have to be built on a business case, if that's the right thing for all the stake holders—principally the customers," Progress Energy Vice President Jon Franke was quoted as saying to local news outlets.

The first crack inside the containment building was found in September 2009 during scheduled refueling and maintenance. The concrte was damaged when workers created an opening to replace a steam generator. A second crack was discovered in March 2010.

A decision on the plant's future could come by the end of June.

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