Open house held on Crystal River nuclear plant shutdown

By Ferdinand Zogbaum, Reporter
Last Updated: Friday, January 10, 2014, 10:49 AM EST

Duke Energy customers got the chance to ask questions Thursday about the shutdown process at the Crystal River nuclear plant.

The decommissioning plan is complicated and costly so Duke officials updated residents and customers, fielded questions and listened to concerns. Crystal River resident Pat Hubbell showed up with a lot on her mind.

"We just want to know what Duke Power is up to and the plans they have for our county and how is it going to impact us,” Hubbell said.

Duke officials think shutting down the plant will cost just over a billion dollars. Heather Danenhower, with Duke Energy, said they already have that money set aside and it doesn't look like they will have to charge customers a dime.

"Through extensive analysis we believe that will be sufficient to pay for the decommissioning without having to go to Florida customers for more money,” said Danenhower.

Duke said it's going to take about 60 years to fully decommission the plant and they say the process is safe so residents have nothing to worry about.

On Jan 16, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission will hold a public hearing to discuss Duke's decommissioning plan with the public. Today's meeting allowed the utility, which has 1.7 million customers in Florida, to speak to the public on its decommissioning plan.

Duke Energy has also launched a decommissioning website for the plant to serve as an information resource for the public. That website can be visited at duke-energy.com/CR3.

The utility announced plans to shut down the troubled plant last year. Repairing and improving the plant would have cost $3.4 billion and have taken years. The 36-year-old plant has not produced power since 2009.

NRC accepting comments on shutdown

In addition to the Jan. 16th meeting, the NRC is also accepting written comments on the decommissioning report.

The deadline for submitting comments on the report is March 5, 2014. Written comments can be submitted using the Docket ID, NRC-2013-0283, on the Regulations.Gov web site.