Progress Energy

Progress Energy To Shut Down Disabled Crystal River Nuclear Plant

Feb 5, 2013

Ending months of debate and uncertainty, Progress Energy Florida said Tuesday it will permanently shut down a damaged Crystal River nuclear plant that has not generated electricity since 2009.

Progress and its parent company, Duke Energy, rejected the possibility of making costly repairs and decided to begin a decades-long process that ultimately will lead to dismantling the plant and decontaminating the site. The situation, which began with a crack in a containment building at the plant, is unprecedented in Florida.

On Monday, Florida energy regulators met with the CEO of Duke Energy, which merged with Progress Energy last month to become the largest utility company in America. The board asked for reassurance that the controversial merger and a disabled nuclear plant won’t hurt the company’s Florida customers.

The Duke-Progress merger had a rocky start, with the resignation of former Progress Energy CEO, Bill Johnson. Two Progress board members, who had believed he was going to lead the combined company, were so upset that they also stepped down.

A financial report released Wednesday shows Florida’s second largest utility has seen a significant drop in its net income. An extended outage at the company’s Crystal River Power Plant attributed to the fall in Progress Energy’s second quarter earnings.

Progress Energy, the second largest utility in Florida is merging with North Carolina based Duke Energy to make the nation’s largest electric utility. But Progress Energy Florida spokeswoman Suzanne Grant said the change shouldn’t be too noticeable to Floridians.

Four lawmakers have joined a lawsuit against the Florida’s nuclear cost recovery program. Regan McCarthy reports the bi-partisan group says the state’s law let’s utilities charge customers for nuclear power plants that might never get built.

A Senate Committee Monday rejected an attempt to block utilities from collecting money from customers for proposed nuclear power plants that may never be built.  James Call reports the move to repeal a 2006 law known as advanced nuclear cost recovery was made by New Port Richey Senator Mike Fasano who says the practice is unfair to consumers.