In an editorial which will have implications from Charlotte, North Carolina to Crystal River, Florida, the Tampa Bay Times is calling for Duke Energy to close its nuclear plant in Crystal River — permanently.
It’s time for Duke Energy to acknowledge that the broken Crystal River nuclear plant is not worth fixing and announce plans to permanently shut it down. The cost of the repairs is too high, and even if the fixes worked it would be years before the plant generated power again. This is an expensive debacle for Duke Energy customers, but it would be better to spend their money on a new natural gas power plant than on trying to repair a 36-year-old nuclear plant that has not produced power since 2009.
Even if Duke closes the nuclear plant, its customers could wind up paying $1.3 billion in costs tied to the failed effort to upgrade it, Tampa Bay Timesstaff writer Ivan Penn reported Sunday. If that’s not upsetting enough, Duke could pocket $100 million of that total. That’s money that should go back to ratepayers, not to the utility’s pockets.
As difficult as those numbers are to swallow, it makes no sense to throw more good money after bad. Spending another $3.4 billion to fix and improve the nuclear plant, plus another $300 million a year for replacement power, doesn’t add up. That would be like trying to salvage an old house and tacking on an addition when a new, modern house would be better and less expensive in the long run.
It never should have come to this. …
Continue reading this blistering editorial here.