AP News

No decision yet on crippled Progress Energy plant


TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) — The fate of a crippled nuclear power plant in north Florida will remain in limbo for weeks — and maybe months — to come.

A Progress Energy Florida official told state regulators Monday that the company is still unsure about whether it will repair or shut down the plant in Crystal River.

That means that the state's second-largest power company could have to refund customers $100 million under a prior settlement between the utility and consumer advocates. That settlement calls for the refund in 2015 and 2016 if repairs had not begun by the end of 2012.

A lawyer for the utility company told state regulators Monday that Progress expects to have a decision about the plant by this summer, though he didn't rule out an announcement before then.

The reactor has been down since late 2009, when its concrete containment building cracked during a maintenance and upgrade project.

Officials say fixing the plant could take nearly three years and cost billions.

The plant's federal license is due to expire in three years, unless federal regulators approve an extension. Progress Energy Florida, a subsidiary of North Carolina-based Duke Energy, also must give state regulators its plans for the next 10 years by April.

Part of the fate of the plant is tied to ongoing negotiations between Progress Energy Florida and a national insurance carrier that covers utilities and energy companies. The utility company is seeking payment for part of the repair costs.

Suzanne Grant, a spokeswoman for the utility, said Monday that a final decision on the plant is contingent on several different factors.

"Ultimately we are going to make the decision that is best for our customers, shareholders and the state," Grant said.


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