This week, Duke Energy announced that it will permanently close its Crystal River nuclear power plant.  This announcement follows a series of unsuccessful repairs since 2009, when its concrete containment building cracked during a maintenance and upgrade project.  Estimates have put repair costs somewhere between $1.3 billion and $3.4 billion.  Making things more difficult, the federal operating license is due to expire at the end of 2016, meaning that Duke Energy would have had to engage in a regulatory battle to extend its authority to operate.

The closing process is expected to take approximately 60 years to complete, including the decontamination and dismantling of all the equipment.   The company is considering whether to build a new, natural-gas-fueled power plant to replace the power lost.   “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," Duke Energy Chairman and Chief Executive Jim Rogers said in a statement.