The Florida Public Service Commission (PSC) today approved Duke Energy Florida’s (DEF) request to construct a fuel storage facility at its Crystal River Nuclear Unit 3 (CR3) to hold existing spent nuclear fuel during the plant’s decommissioning.
“After analyzing several options, on site dry cask storage proved the most efficient and cost-effective method to safely store CR3 spent nuclear fuel,” said PSC Chairman Art Graham. “We will continue to ensure that all costs associated with the decommissioning project are prudent and necessary.”
CR3 decommissioning processes and costs are detailed in DEF’s 2013 Settlement Agreement, approved by the PSC. The nuclear power plant was retired when DEF decided not to repair the facility that sustained damages during an upgrade and repair project in 2009. Since the unit’s retirement, spent fuel is no longer being generated, but storage of existing spent fuel is still required. Dry cask storage allows the fuel’s radioactivity to safely decay naturally.
Amortization of storage construction costs will be deferred pending the outcome of ongoing U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) litigation. DEF maintains that storage facility construction would not have been necessary if the federal government had moved forward with a national storage site at Yucca Mountain. DEF is seeking recovery of construction costs and intends to use any financial award to reduce base rate impacts for customers.
Under the Nuclear Waste Policy Act of 1982, DOE entered into contracts with all U.S. nuclear utilities to take title of the utilities’ nuclear waste in exchange for fees paid into a nuclear waste fund. To date, the DOE has not provided for the transportation of any spent nuclear fuel to a DOE facility.
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