Crystal River / Duke Energy Confirms Decommissioning To Begin 50 Years Sooner Than Planned

By David Dalton
5 October 2020

Company says cost has been locked in at $540m
Duke Energy Confirms Decommissioning To Begin 50 Years Sooner Than Planned
The Crystal River nuclear power station, where planning for decommissioning has begun. Courtesy Duke Energy.
Accelerated Decommissioning Partners and Duke Energy completed a transaction on 1 October to start decontamination and dismantlement of the single-unit Crystal River nuclear power station in 2020 instead of 2067 – nearly 50 years sooner than originally planned.

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission approved the transfer of the nuclear plant’s licence from Duke Energy to Accelerated Decommissioning Partners on 1 April and the Florida Public Service Commission approved the transaction on 18 August.

At the time, Duke Energy said it can have the nuclear segment of the decommissioning done by 2027 at a cost that has been locked in at $540m.

Under a contract reached in May 2019, Duke Energy remains the licensed owner of the plant and retains ownership and control of the trust fund that pays for decommissioning. Duke Energy will continue to have access to the site and will pay Accelerated Decommissioning Partners only for work completed.

Accelerated Decommissioning Partners, a joint venture formed in 2017 between NorthStar Group Services and Orano USA, becomes the licensed operator responsible for decommissioning. The company also becomes responsible for operating and maintaining the onsite dry cask storage facility and owns the dry cask storage system assets, including the used nuclear fuel assemblies.

Duke Energy said decommissioning planning and engineering work are underway. Between 2021 and 2026, Accelerated Decommissioning Partners will remove, package and ship shielded radioactive components, such as the reactor pressure vessel, to an offsite disposal facility and then demolish the nuclear plant’s buildings.

When decontamination and dismantlement work is completed in 2027, only the dry cask storage facility that houses used nuclear fuel assemblies will remain.

Crystal River-3, an 860-MW pressurised water reactor unit, began commercial operation in 1968 and was permanently shut down in 2013 after Duke Energy decided that repairing it carried too many risks.

The decision came after a comprehensive engineering analysis of the reactor’s damaged containment structure.

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