Crystal River 3 Nuclear Power Plant
|Crystal River Nuclear Plant|
The power plant complex of Crystal River, on the right of the cooling towers is the nuclear reactor (Unit 3)
|Location||Crystal River, Florida|
|Commission date||March 13, 1977|
|Construction cost||$400 million|
|Nuclear power station|
|Reactor type||Pressurized water reactor (PWR)|
|Reactor supplier||Babcock and Wilcox|
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Crystal River 3 Nuclear Generating Station.|
The Crystal River 3 Nuclear Power Plant, also simply called the Crystal River Nuclear Plant, is a closed nuclear power plant located in Crystal River, Florida. The power plant is the third plant built (hence its name) as part of the 4,700-acre (1,900 ha) Crystal River Energy Complex which contains a single pressurized water reactor, while sharing the site with four fossil fuel power plants.
The Crystal River reactor has been offline since September 2009 when a refueling and 20% uprate outage began. During the upgrade, workers discovered a gap in the concrete containment dome. The NRC investigated and found that the gap was caused by workers applying more pressure to the concrete than it could handle while cutting a hole through which to replace the steam generators. (Taking in the generators in through the equipment hatch was not an option as there was no room to maneuver the generators inside the hatch). The plant had originally been due to restart in April 2011, but the project encountered a number of delays. Repairs were unsuccessful, and in February 2013 Duke Energy announced that the Crystal River Nuclear Plant would be permanently shut down. The coal-fired units are not affected.
Crystal River was originally owned by Florida Progress Corporation (and operated by its subsidiary, Florida Power Corporation) but, in 2000, it was bought by Carolina Power & Light to form the new company, Progress Energy, which currently operates the plant. Progress Energy owned 91.8% of the plant; the remainder is owned by nine municipal utilities. Effective July 2, 2012 Duke Energy purchased Progress Energy and made it a wholly owned direct unit of Duke Energy.
Outage, repairs and closure
Crystal River is a pressurized water reactor that normally produces 860 MWe, but it has been offline since September 2009 when a refuelling and 20% uprate outage began. While the reactor was down, the old steam generators were to be replaced, but Progress Energy decided to save $15 million by managing the project itself, a job never attempted by a utility company. An internal report in 2004 stated that the company lacked the experience and expertise, and "those weaknesses cannot be changed to strengths in sufficient time to plan and implement" the task. Progress hired an engineering firm and a contractor with no appropriate experience in this type of work. There are 426 steel tendons within the concrete walls of the reactor containment dome which reinforce the dome. Plan developer Sargent & Lundy specified that 97 tendons be loosened. Progress rejected that number as excessive. The next proposal was 74 tendons, which was typical of other nuclear plants doing the procedure. According to a Progress employeee, "de-tensioning the tendons is a very expensive and time-consuming effort", so the number was further reduced to 65. Progress engaged Bechtel to provide a 3rd party review, which agreed that 65 was appropriate. However, when the work was performed, only 27 tendons were loosened, and a foreman and supervisor sent emails questioning the way the tendons were loosened.
When workers began to cut the access hole for the steam generators, a crack formed. That crack was repaired, but more cracks appeared. Engineers noticed that parts of the concrete had delaminated. This was repaired, and the concrete re-tensioned, but the same problem was found in other areas. The plant had originally been due to restart in April 2011 following the uprate, but in June 2011 Progress Energy said that it did not expect it to restart until 2014. Preliminary cost estimates for the repairs was put at between $900 million and $1.3 billion, but this estimate was later called into question by Duke Energy. In October 2012 an independent review estimated the repair cost at $1.5 billion, with a worst-case scenario of $3.4 billion. In February 2013 Duke Energy announced that Crystal River would be permanently shut down and that they will recover $850 million in insurance claims. A Duke spokesperson stated, "The company sought input from numerous engineering experts — internally and externally — and used proven industry-accepted practices when determining how to replace the steam generators. Analysis has shown that the 2009 delamination (cracking) could not have been predicted. The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission confirmed these findings."
Gregory Jaczko, former chairman of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, stated, "That's a multi-billion dollar asset that had to be shut down because of improper work planning, improper understanding of how to properly do this containment retrofit".
The Nuclear Regulatory Commission defines two emergency planning zones around nuclear power plants: a plume exposure pathway zone with a radius of 10 miles (16 km), concerned primarily with exposure to, and inhalation of, airborne radioactive contamination, and an ingestion pathway zone of about 50 miles (80 km), concerned primarily with ingestion of food and liquid contaminated by radioactivity.
The 2010 U.S. population within 10 miles (16 km) of Crystal River was 20,695, an increase of 50.9 percent in a decade, according to an analysis of U.S. Census data for msnbc.com. The 2010 U.S. population within 50 miles (80 km) was 1,046,741, an increase of 32.4 percent since 2000. Cities within 50 miles include Ocala, (38 miles to city center) and Spring Hill (34 miles to city center).
In September 10, 2006 a magnitude 5.8 earthquake occurred 300 miles southwest of the nuclear plant, no damage occurred to the Crystal River Nuclear Power Plant from the rare quake. The odds of such a quake happening again in the near-term around Florida are low.
The Nuclear Regulatory Commission's estimate of the risk each year of an earthquake intense enough to cause core damage to the reactor at Crystal River was 1 in 45,455, according to an NRC (Nuclear Regulatory Commission) study published in August 2010.
- Matthew L. Wald (November 23, 2009). "A Nuclear Reactor Shows Its Age". New York Times.
- Donovan, Travis (03-18-11). "U.S. Nuclear Power Plants Had 14 'Near-Miss' Problems In 2010: UCS Report". The Huffington Post. Check date values in:
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- "Crystal River Nuclear Plant to be retired; company evaluating sites for potential new gas-fueled generation". 5 February 2013.
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- Bill Dedman, Nuclear neighbors: Population rises near US reactors, msnbc.com, April 14, 2011 http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/42555888/ns/us_news-life/ Accessed May 1, 2011.
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- "Crystal River 3 Pressurized Water Reactor". Operating Nuclear Power Reactors. U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC). February 14, 2008. Retrieved 2009-01-07.