Nuclear power plant to be reviewed by Florida PSC

The Florida Public Service Commission (PSC) on August 13 will review the status of the single-unit, 860 MW Crystal River Nuclear Unit north of Crystal River, Fla., now managed by Duke Energy (NYSE: DUK) since its merger with Progress Energy Florida (PEF).

During a maintenance and upgrade project to replace the steam generators in 2009, a crack occurred in the concrete containment building that surrounds the plant’s reactor.  In November 2010, the PSC opened a docket to oversee PEF’s engineering analyses and repair cost estimates and to monitor ongoing discussions with its insurance company, the Nuclear Electric Insurance Ltd.

In February, the PSC approved a Settlement Agreement between the Office of Public Counsel (OPC) and other interveners that resolved Phase 1 issues relating to events leading up to the CR3 incident.  As part of the agreement, the PSC said Progress will remove CR3 from rate base beginning in 2013 while the company continues to evaluate options for the plant. The company is also refunding customers $288 million for replacement power costs associated with CR3’s ongoing outage. Up to an additional $100 million in customer refunds will be required if PEF does not begin CR3 repairs by December 31 with board and/or senior management approval and a publicly announced repair plan and schedule, said the PSC.  Providing rate continuity for PEF’s customers through 2016, the agreement also provides a process for ongoing consultation with OPC, which represents customers, about the decision to repair or retire CR3.

The Crystal River Nuclear Plant began operation in 1977.

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