Progress Energy Deciding Whether to Repair or Scrap Nuclear Plant
October 31, 2012 | WMFE - Officials at Progress Energy Florida are working toward a decision about whether to repair or retire the utility's Crystal River nuclear power plant. Estimates to fix the plant, which is about 90 miles northwest of Orlando, run as high as $3-and-a-half billion dollars and much of that cost could be passed on to the utility's customers.
If it’s going to get back up and running the Crystal River nuclear power plants needs repairs but it’s looking like customers could be on the hook for a big chunk of the multi-billion dollar cost.
During an update on their decision about whether they’ll make the repairs, Progress Energy Officials told the Public Service Commission that they’re not sure how much of the cost their insurance company will cover and how much could be passed on to customers.
Jon Moyle with the Florida Industrial Power Users group says that’s an important number to know before the company decides to rebuild. He says his group is concerned about how much time it’s taking to get that answer.
“You know, in state insurance law, if you have a property claim in a residential context, I think the insurance company has so many days to make a decision. If you don’t get a decision in that time you start getting interest on your monies.” Moyle said.
The plant has been down since 2009 when a concrete containment wall surrounding the reactor cracked during a maintenance project.
Now officials are considering whether to keep trying to fix it, or retire the plant. Public Service Commission member Eduardo Balbis says the utility entered a settlement agreement requiring it to make a decision soon.
“You indicated the decision making process being in likely December or as late as summer 2013.” Balbis said. “Obviously the settlement agreement has a deadline of December 31st of this year when construction repair activities must commence.”
If the utility doesn’t make a decision and move forward on construction by the end-of-year deadline it faces penalties that could include a review of the prudence of the repair by parties of the agreement and even refunding some money to customers.