Shutting down Crystal River plant no overnight process

Last Updated: Wednesday, February 13, 2013, 10:14 AM EST

The closing of the Crystal River nuclear plant will not be an overnight process.

In fact, the shuttering of the plant (known as CR3) completely is done through a process that can take as many as 40 years.

According to Bay News 9's partner newspaper the Citrus County Chronicle, Duke Energy officials said the company will follow post-Fukushima (Japan) requirements, meaning the process of shutting the plant down would be longer than normal.

Factors involved in deciding to shut down the damaged plant include price of natural gas, carbon tax, cost of repairing CR3 and the ongoing costs with nuclear against those associated with a combined cycle natural gas-fired plant.

The shutting down of the plant means about 80 workers will remain long-term at the plant - which is a far cry from the 600 employees there now.

However, the workers who are losing their jobs will get preference for other jobs currently available with Duke Energy.

Progress Energy originally tried to repair the plant in 2009. The company started to replace two steam generators and do upgrades that would have increased the plant's generating capacity by 20 percent.

But in the fall of 2009, while the project was underway, workers cracked the reactor's 42-inch thick concrete containment building. They repaired the wall, but soon discovered their efforts had cracked the wall again. The plant has been idle ever since.

The company's decision comes after a comprehensive, months-long engineering analysis of the damaged containment structure.