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Industry News

Crystal River Nuclear Plant to be Retired

LCG, February 7, 2013--Progress Energy Florida, a subsidiary of Duke Energy, announced yesterday that it will retire the 860-MW Crystal River Nuclear Plant (CR3) in Florida. The nuclear facility, originally commissioned in 1977, has been offline since September 2009.

The chairman, president and CEO of Duke stated, "We believe the decision to retire the nuclear plant is in the best overall interests of our customers, investors, the state of Florida and our company. This has been an arduous process of modeling, engineering, analysis and evaluation over many months. The decision was very difficult, but it is the right choice."

Duke is reviewing alternatives to replace the power produced by the unit, including the construction of a new, natural gas-fired generating facility. Potential site locations include Citrus County, and a new facility could commence operations by 2018, according to Duke.

The decision follows a comprehensive, months-long engineering analysis of the damaged CR3 containment structure. The nuclear unit was shut down for refueling and replacement of its steam generators when a delamination, or crack, occurred in the outer layer of the containment building?s concrete wall. The process of repairing the damage and restoring the unit to service resulted in additional delaminations in other sections of the containment structure in 2011.

During the ensuing months, Progress Energy - and, more recently, Duke Energy - evaluated the ability to successfully repair the unit, the risks associated with any repair and the repair scope, together with costs and schedule. A recent report confirmed that repairing the plant was viable but that the potential scope of repairs brought increased risks that could raise the cost dramatically and extend the schedule.

Duke stated that it has reached an agreement with its insurance carrier, Nuclear Electric Insurance Limited (NEIL), regarding coverage claims through a mediation process. Under the terms of the mediator's proposal, NEIL will pay an additional $530 million. Along with the $305 million NEIL already paid, customers will receive $835 million in insurance proceeds.

Duke stated that it is working to develop a comprehensive decommissioning plan to determine resource needs and the scope, schedule and other elements of the decommissioning.

The existing four coal plants at the Crystal River Energy Complex will remain in service. However, as previously announced, Duke expects to retire the two older coal-fired plants (units 1 and 2) - most likely in the 2015 -2018 time frame - due to changing federal regulations, although Duke states there is no specific retirement plan for the units today.

Duke recently invested over $1 billion to add advanced emission controls on the newer coal-fired plants (Crystal River units 4 and 5) and plans to continue to operate those units.
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