September 28, 2023


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Duke decommissioning could create local jobs | Local News

Duke Energy’s decommissioning of its retired Crystal River Nuclear Plant may create jobs for locals during the next several years.

Scott State, CEO of Accelerated Decommissioning Partners (ADP), said it’s too soon to tell how many employees will be needed but it could reach in the hundreds.

And any workers brought in outside the area could be housed in local hotels during some of the work, further stimulating the local economy, he said.

State said a similar project in Vermont required about 100 to 150 people during peak employment. That is in addition to full-time security staff.

But they may not all be there at the same time because there will be many stages where workers would work for an allotted time and then the next phase would begin.

In Vermont, for example, ADP hired about 30 people for asbestos abatement and 30 to 50 during demolition.

Josh Wooten, CEO/president of the Citrus County Chamber of Commerce, said every effort to hire local subcontractors, employees and vendors would boost the local economy.

State made the comments during a recent virtual meeting set up by Duke Energy to inform local community and government leaders and others of the decommissioning process. 

Last month, Duke Energy passed its final hurdle on its way to decommissioning the plant. The Florida Public Service Commission (PSC) — after a 14-month review — unanimously backed Duke’s plan to enter a $540 million contract with ADP to conduct what is known as “decommissioning” work.

And on Oct. 1, 2020, ADP and Duke formally closed the transaction to start decontamination and dismantlement  this year, about 50 years sooner than originally planned.

Crystal River City Manager Ken Frink was concerned about the hauling of possibly radioactive waste through the city during the dismantling process.

But State said plans call for materials to be moved largely by rail and there will not be much additional truck traffic through Crystal River.

Duke Energy decommissioning manager Terry Hobbs said the decommissioning process is highly regulated and, if any material is shipped via truck, state and federal agencies would send inspectors to verify there is no loose radioactive contamination on the vehicles.

Hobbs said the decommissioning will begin this year and end in 2027.

During that time, ADP will decontaminate equipment, remove components, ship radioactive materials (such as the reactor vessel) to a licensed facility, demolish plant buildings, shrink the regulated land area and seek a partial-license termination from the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.

From 2020 to 2037, ADP will operate and maintain the on-site dry cask storage facility. Twenty-four-hour security, emergency response and radiological and environmental monitoring programs will continue throughout the decommissioning and ongoing operation of the dry cask storage facility in compliance with state and federal regulations.

Finally, from 2037 to 2038, ADP will restore the site and ask the NRC to terminate the license and release the property for unrestricted use. This phase assumes the U.S. has a licensed interim or federal repository, all used nuclear fuel has been moved from the nuclear plant to that facility and the dry cask storage facility has been demolished.

At that point, the property would return to Duke Energy for the company’s reuse. The company has not determined how it might re-purpose the property but has no plans to sell it.

Duke spokeswoman Dorothy Pernu said during the virtual meeting the company plans to remain in Crystal River “for decades to come.”

Duke officials have said the decommissioning will benefit the company’s 47,500 Citrus County customers because the fixed-price contract with ADP to do the work will lock in today’s prices, providing Duke’s customers financial protection and transferring the costs and schedule risks of the project to ADP.

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