The Tampa Bay Times reported this morning:
“Duke Energy announced early Tuesday it will permanently close the Crystal River nuclear plant that has been shut down since late 2009.”
The news was not entirely unexpected; Crystal River has not produced electricity since 2009:
“That year, Progress Energy Florida, now part of Duke, planned to replace two steam generators and do upgrades that would increase the plant’s generating capacity by 20 percent.
The work is relatively routine, having been performed successfully at dozens of plants across the country.
Two things distinguished Progress’ handling of the work.
Progress self-managed the steam generator replacement rather than hire one of two companies all the other U.S. utilities used to oversee that work. The idea was to save money.
But more problems followed.
In fall of 2009, as workers began the project, they cracked the reactor’s 42-inch thick concrete containment building. They repaired the wall only to discover their efforts had cracked the wall again. The 36-year-old plant has been idle since.”
But Duke’s financial woes may not be over. As cable news channel Bay News 9 reported this morning:
“In response to Duke Energy’s announcement to close the Crystal River nuclear plant, State Rep. Mike Fasano, R-New Port Richey, is calling for a $1 billion refund to customers.
Fasano is calling for Duke Energy/Progress Energy Florida to refund all the money that has been collected from its customers in the name of a repair project that is now being abandoned.
The lawmaker says the plant has been plagued with problems and with the closure customers will not see any return on their forced investment. Fasano represents the state’s 36th district, which includes parts of Citrus, Hernando, Pasco and Pinellas counties.
‘This utility has collected over $1.3 billion dollars from its customers for the repair of its broken power plant that apparently will now never be fixed,” Fasano said. “The poor choices made by Duke/ Progress Energy’s present and former executives leave customers with nothing to show for the huge bills they have been forced to pay.’ “
Here’s a link to the Tampa Bay Times article: http://www.tampabay.com/news/business/energy/article1273794.ece
And here’s one for the Bay New 9 piece: http://www.baynews9.com/content/news/baynews9/news/article.html/content/news/articles/bn9/2013/2/5/bay_area_lawmaker_ca.html