Crystal River 3
I know all of this is obvious, but it’s nice occasionally to see it reaffirmed publically.
“The review found that the current repair plan appears to be technically feasible,” said Alex Glenn, incoming president of Progress Energy Florida, a subsidiary of Duke Energy, “but significant risks and technical issues still need to be resolved, including the ultimate scope of any repair work.Glenn is talking about a crack in a containment dome at Progress Energy’s Crystal River 3 facility in Florida. Progress (which is now part of Duke Energy) wanted to figure out how much it would cost to fix the problem and hired an outside company, Zapata Consulting, to review the situation.
The cost? A fair amount.
The Zapata report estimated the repair cost at approximately $1.49 billion. Progress Energy's prior assessment indicated expected repair cost of $900 million to $1.3 billion, with the costs trending up.”And if Zapata is correct, trending up is what those costs are doing. As with many reports, Zapata offered scenarios to estimate how much the process would cost if it went extremely well and if it went very badly.
Under the worst-case scenario, Zapata estimated that the cost could be $3.43 billion with a 96-month schedule.That’s a lot of money and we would be naïve to think that Progress Energy will not consider its options. Crystal River 3 has been operating since 1977 and has paid its way.
“We have not made a final decision on whether to repair or retire CR3,” Glenn said in a statement on Monday. “The decision and schedule will be driven by the final analysis. We will carefully analyze and settle each finding as we continue to evaluate the technical and licensing implications, estimated costs and the time required to make the repair. We will proceed with a repair option only if there is a high degree of confidence that the repair can be successfully completed and licensed within the final estimated costs and schedule.”The shuttering of any nuclear energy facility means the loss of a lot of carbon emission free baseload electricity generation – 860 megawatts in this case, with an uprate pending if it returns to service. And it may yet return to service – Progress Energy will figure out what’s best for its customers.
But if Progress Energy decides to retire the reactor, that’s that. No company runs unsafe nuclear reactors; and no company can afford to lose money. There’s just no upside.