Duke Energy Closing Troubled Nuclear Plant

From USA Today

By Emery P. Dalesio

The nation’s largest electricity company said Tuesday that it will permanently close its Crystal River Nuclear Plant, which has been shut since 2009, after botched repairs.

Duke Energy, based in Charlotte, N.C., says it is starting a closing process that may take 60 years before the nuclear site is decontaminated and dismantled. And it is considering whether to build a new, natural-gas-fueled power plant to replace the power lost.

Duke says it will return to customers $835 million from an insurance settlement because they were forced to pay for higher-cost replacement power. But Duke also said it will seek to recoup from customers its $1.65 billion investment in the plant, 70 miles north of Tampa.

The nuclear plant, operated by Duke Energy subsidiary Progress Energy Florida, was shut down when its concrete containment building cracked during a maintenance and upgrade project. A 2011 repair attempt resulted in new cracks in other parts of the containment structure. Estimates put repair costs at between $1.3 billion and $3.4 billion.

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