Progress Energy Florida has told the Florida Public Service Commission that the company has completed concrete replacement and is completing the extensive computer modeling necessary to finish the remaining repair work at the company’s Crystal River Nuclear Plant. The company is now making preparation for pre-start testing and is targeting return to service in the first quarter of 2011.

The updated schedule reflects the additional time required to complete computer analysis that is needed to determine the correct 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.

Workers completed the concrete replacement in October. Once the interior tendons are re-tightened, a series of structural tests will be completed. After those tests, the unit will return to normal operation.

Progress Energy will continue to coordinate repair and restart plans with Nuclear Regulatory Commission officials.

A portion of the building was damaged late last year during the process of creating an opening in the structure to remove and replace the steam generators inside. The unit was already shut down for refueling and maintenance at the time the damage was found. The damage was delamination (or separation) of a portion of the concrete at the periphery of the containment building.

The repair schedule and return-to-service date are affected by a number of factors, including regulatory reviews by the NRC and other agencies as appropriate, emergent work, engineering designs, computerized modeling, testing, weather and other developments.

Vincent Dolan, Progress Energy Florida President and CEO said: “We have successfully completed the majority of the complex, first-of-a-kind repairs and 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.”

As of Sept. 30, Progress Energy Florida has spent approximately $117 million on the repair. Final estimates for the total repair cost are being calculated. These estimates will be driven, in large part, by the final repair activities, and potential issues beyond its control, such as weather, which could affect construction, and regulatory reviews, it said. Progress Energy Florida expects that the cost of the repair work will be partially paid by insurance.

Through Oct. 30, the company has received a total of $117 million from its insurance provider, Nuclear Electric Insurance Limited (NEIL), and expects to file additional claims. Of that total, $81 million is for replacement power costs and $36 million toward the cost of the repairs.