Duke may decide on Crystal River nuclear plant by February

Duke Energy (NYSE: DUK) said it could have a decision on the fate of the 860 MW Crystal River nuclear power plant in Florida by early February.

According to The Charlotte Observer newspaper, Duke CEO Jim Rogers was quoted as saying Feb. 1 was an “aspirational target” that could change. Previously, officials had said there would not be a decision made until summer of 2013.

The single-unit plant has been shut down since 2009 after cracks were found in the reactor’s containment building. Repairs are expected to cost up to $3.4 billion as a worst-case scenario, according to a report from Zapata in October. The costs of buying replacement power have exceeded the $490 million in insurance coverage, the article said.

As part of a settlement agreement, Duke said it would pay $100 million in refunds to customers in 2015 and 2016 since repairs did not begin on the plant before the end of 2012.

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