Duke Energy submits Crystal River nuclear plant decommissioning plan to NRC

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CRYSTAL RIVER, FLA. - Duke Energy has submitted its decommissioning plan for the company’'s retired Crystal River nuclear plant in Florida to the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC).

The plan includes a decommissioning description, cost estimate and schedule. It also includes a management strategy for storing used nuclear fuel.

Duke Energy expects to implement tasks outlined in the decommissioning plan starting in 2014. The plant operated from 1977 to 2009.

Plan highlights

  • Duke Energy has selected the “SAFSTOR” decommissioning option – one of three options approved by the NRC, and one chosen by several other retired U.S. nuclear plants. Under this option, the plant will be placed in a safe, stable condition for 60 years until decommissioning work is completed in 2074.
  • The estimated decommissioning cost is $1.18 billion in today’s (2013) dollars. Duke Energy believes the company’s existing nuclear decommissioning trust fund, plus the fund’s future growth – coupled with funds from the plant’s nine other owners – will be sufficient to decommission the plant.
  • Radiological and environmental monitoring will continue during the entire decommissioning process to ensure safety and environmental protection.
  • The plant’s used nuclear fuel will remain in the existing on-site fuel pool until a new, on-site, dry-cask storage facility is built. The plant has safely stored its used fuel on site for 35 years, since the facility’s first refueling in 1978. All U.S. nuclear plants store used fuel on site – either in fuel pools or dry casks – because the U.S. does not have a central federal repository for used nuclear fuel.

"“Decommissioning the Crystal River nuclear plant will be a well-defined process, with significant NRC oversight,”" said Duke Energy Crystal River decommissioning director Terry Hobbs. “"Nuclear safety will remain Duke Energy'’s top priority. The plant will remain in a safe, stable condition, and our comprehensive emergency plan and 24/7 security force will remain in place.”"

About 275 employees work at the plant – members of the facility’'s decommissioning transition organization – in addition to security personnel.

In accordance with federal regulations, the NRC will make the plan available for public comment. The NRC also will schedule a public meeting in the first quarter of 2014 in Citrus County, Fla., to discuss the plan and the agency'’s decommissioning oversight process.

Duke Energy has also submitted the plan to the Florida Public Service Commission, in accordance with federal regulations, and briefed the Florida Office of Public Counsel.

Duke Energy has launched a web site that contains additional information about the nuclear plant'’s decommissioning plan – www.duke-energy.com/CR3.

About Duke Energy Florida

Duke Energy Florida, a subsidiary of Duke Energy (NYSE: DUK), provides electricity and related services to approximately 1.7 million customers in Florida. The company is headquartered in St. Petersburg, Fla., and serves a territory encompassing more than 20,000 square miles, including the cities of St. Petersburg and Clearwater as well as the Central Florida area surrounding Orlando. Duke Energy Florida is pursuing a balanced approach to meeting the future energy needs of the region. That balance includes increased energy-efficiency programs, investments in renewable energy technologies and a state-of-the-art electricity system.

Headquartered in Charlotte, N.C., Duke Energy is a Fortune 250 company traded on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol DUK. More information about the company is available at: www.duke-energy.com.