The Nuclear Regulatory Commission approved the license transfer for the Crystal River-3 nuclear power plant from Duke Energy Florida to ADP CR3, enabling active decommissioning of the shuttered nuclear power plant, the agency announced on April 1.
The backstory:Duke permanently ceased operations at Florida’s Crystal River-3, an 860-MWe pressurized water reactor, in 2013. In June 2019, the company applied to the NRC to transfer the plant’s license to ADP CR3, a subsidiary of Accelerated Decommissioning Partners, a joint venture of NorthStar Group Services and Orano Decommissioning Holdings. Under its agreement with ADP CR3, Duke will remain the owner of the nuclear power plant, property, and equipment and will retain ownership and control of the trust fund that pays for the decommissioning. ADP CR3 will become the NRC licensee responsible for decommissioning the plant in compliance with all state and federal regulations.
What it means: ADP CR3 joins a number of private companies, including Utah-based EnergySolutions and Holtec International, that are taking over the licenses of closed nuclear power plants, or acquiring them outright, for the purpose of decommissioning. The model relieves utilities of the burden of decommissioning the reactors themselves. It also enables plant owners to remediate the sites faster than would otherwise be possible, with the third-party decommissioning companies often committing to completing the cleanup of shutdown reactors at an accelerated pace. According to Orano, ADP applies its member companies’ decades of decommissioning expertise to remove nuclear reactor site buildings, components, and structures decades earlier than allowed under the NRC’s SAFSTOR process, enabling the restored site to be used for potential further economic development. ADP CR3 plans to complete the decommissioning of Crystal River-3 by 2027.