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Ailing Crystal River Nuclear Reactor Finally Closed

February 6, 2012

PSR is pleased to note Duke Energy’s wise decision to permanently shutter the troubled Crystal River nuclear reactor in Florida.  This decision comes three years after the reactor was initially shut down as a result of repeated cracks in the reactor’s containment vessel.   This decision is a victory for public safety. 

The Crystal River saga is also an awful parable of the risks posed to ratepayers by nuclear reactors.  Ratepayers may still wind up paying $1.3 billion in costs tied to the failed effort to upgrade the reactor.  They may also be on the hook for many billions more for new reactors at Levy County and Turkey Point.   Read more here:

New nuclear reactors make no sense from either a financial or an environmental perspective.  Clean renewable alternatives and energy efficiency can easily obviate the need for new reactors and won’t put public health and fragile ecosystems like the Everglades at risk. 

"Closing Crystal River is a step in the right direction," said Morgan Pinnell, Safe Energy Program Manager, "but the best decision for consumers and citizens would be to take Levy County and Turkey Point off the table as well."

Both sites where the reactors are being proposed represent valuable and unique parts of Florida’s fragile environment.

 Levy County is a greenfield site.  It lies in a freshwater wetland from which Duke would draw over 1.5 million gallons of water a day, threatening springs that support wetlands and wildlife, including endangered manatees.  These springs, interconnected by subterranean channels, are the lifeblood of Florida, which has the greatest concentration of springs on earth. 

Turkey Point lies on Biscayne Bay, near aquatic and wetlands habitat preserves, two national parks, and a national wildlife refuge, all of which are  host to endangered species.  Transmission lines will run through Everglades National Park, impacting approximately 300 acres of wetlands.  Cooling water will be injected underground.  This water, which contains numerous contaminants, may migrate upward into drinking water aquifers.    

Both are near or at sea level.  Given the risks of sea-levels rising as a result of climate change, it seems particularly unwise to build there.  Flooding shut down the New York subway system for weeks and led to ongoing havoc at the Fukushima site and last year at Ft. Calhoun reactor in Nebraska.

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