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Progress Delays Crystal River Reactor Start to 1st Quarter 2011

Progress Energy Inc. said additional work to repair the Crystal River reactor in Florida will delay its startup until the first quarter of 2011.

“We’re moving forward cautiously and deliberately as we focus on the final phase of the containment building repair and conduct pre-restart testing activities,” Vincent Dolan, chief executive officer of Progress Energy Florida, said in an e-mailed statement today.

The 838-megawatt unit was shut in September 2009 to repair concrete in its containment building and was due to come online in the fourth quarter of this year, Mike Hughes, a company spokesman, said in August.

Raleigh, North Carolina-based Progress said it has spent $117 million on the repairs to the end of September 2010 and is calculating the final costs. The plant is located 80 miles (130 kilometers) north of Tampa, Florida.

By Oct. 30, Progress received $117 million from its insurer, Nuclear Electric Insurance Limited, and said it expects to file additional insurance claims. Of the total so far, $81 million is for replacement power and $36 million is for the repairs.

The damage occurred during maintenance to replace steam generators, when crews created an opening in the structure that caused “delamination” or separation of a portion of the concrete at the periphery of the containment building.

Concrete Replacement

Workers completed the concrete replacement last month. The work ahead includes computer analysis to determine the sequence to re-tighten a network of hundreds of horizontal and vertical tendons that provide structural integrity inside the walls of the concrete and steel containment building.

Structural testing after the tightening and Nuclear Regulatory Commission reviews of the work are to precede the startup, Progress said.

Progress Energy includes two major electric utilities that serve about 3.1 million customers in the Carolinas and Florida, according to the statement. The company has 22,000 megawatts of generation capacity and approximately $10 billion in annual revenue, it said.

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