Accelerated Decommissioning Partners becomes licensed operator of Duke Energy’s Crystal River Nuclear Plant

Accelerated Decommissioning Partners, Dallas, announced Oct. 1 that it has completed a transaction with Charlotte, North Carolina-based Duke Energy to start decontamination and dismantlement of the Crystal River Nuclear Plant in Citrus County, Florida. Accelerated Decommissioning Partners is a joint venture formed in 2017 between NorthStar Group Services and Orano USA. According to Accelerated Decommissioning Partners, the plant was originally scheduled to undergo decontamination and dismantlement in 2067, but under the new agreement, work will commence this year.

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission approved the transfer of the nuclear plant’s license from Duke Energy to Accelerated Decommissioning Partners on April 1, and the Florida Public Service Commission unanimously approved the transaction on Aug. 18.

“Our experienced team of decommissioning experts provides a turnkey solution to Duke Energy customers for a fixed price on a guaranteed schedule,” Accelerated Decommissioning Partners CEO Scott State says. “We are committed to being good partners with Duke Energy, state and federal regulators and the local community.”

Under the previously announced contract reached in May 2019, Duke Energy remains the Nuclear Regulatory Commission-licensed owner of the nuclear plant, property and equipment (except the dry cask storage facility assets) and retains ownership and control of the trust fund that pays for the decommissioning. Duke Energy will continue to have access to the site and will pay Accelerated Decommissioning Partners only for work completed.

Accelerated Decommissioning Partners becomes the Nuclear Regulatory Commission-licensed operator responsible for decommissioning the plant in compliance with all state and federal regulations.

Accelerated Decommissioning Partners also becomes responsible for operating and maintaining the on-site dry cask storage facility and owns the dry cask storage system assets, including the used nuclear fuel assemblies.

According to Accelerated Decommissioning, performing decontamination and dismantlement activities during the next seven years instead of waiting until 2067, as originally planned, aligns with the company’s business model and benefits Duke Energy customers.

“The transaction has no impact on Duke Energy customer bills,” Catherine Stempien, Duke Energy’s state president in Florida, says. “The fixed-price contract locks in today’s prices, provides customers financial protection and transfers cost and schedule risks to Accelerated Decommissioning Partners. Successfully closing this transaction is an example of how we are making smart decisions that benefit our customers and company.”

The company says the local community will not notice any difference in operations at the 5,100-acre Crystal River Energy Complex located on Florida’s Gulf Coast about 85 miles north of Tampa.

The complex will remain a Duke Energy industrial facility for decades. Accelerating the decommissioning of the nuclear plant allows for faster redevelopment of the plant’s property for Duke Energy’s eventual reuse.

Though Duke Energy has not determined how it might repurpose the property, the company says it has no plans to sell it.

According to Accelerated Decommissioning, decommissioning planning and engineering work are already underway. Between 2021 and 2026, the company will remove, package and ship shielded radioactive components, such as the reactor vessel, to an off-site licensed disposal facility and then demolish the nuclear plant’s buildings.

When decontamination and dismantlement work is completed in 2027, only the dry cask storage facility that sits on less than 2 acres and houses used nuclear fuel assemblies will remain.

Accelerated Decommissioning Partners will continue 24-hour security, emergency response and radiological and environmental monitoring programs at the nuclear plant during and after the decommissioning process in compliance with state and federal requirements.