An independent analysis has estimated that the cost of repairing concrete cracking at Progress Energy’s Crystal River 3 nuclear power plant will be almost $1.5 billion, around 15% higher than the last estimate.

Zapata’s final report on the potential repair plan was submitted to the Florida Public Service Commission on 1 October. It found that the plan appears to be ‘technically feasible,’ but says that ‘significant risks and technical issues still need to be resolved, including the ultimate scope of any repair work.’

The Zapata report estimated the repair cost at approximately $1.49 billion. Progress Energy’s prior assessment indicated an expected cost of $900 million to $1.3 billion, with the costs trending up. The report confirmed, as Progress Energy’s assessment had previously indicated, that an increase in the scope of repairs will increase the cost and extend the schedule.

Zapata also prepared approximate estimates for more extensive work based on potential unplanned scenarios, up to and including its worst-case scenario. This scenario assumed that the company would perform Progress Energy’s more limited scope of work, and at the conclusion of that work, additional damage would occur in the dome and in the lower elevations, which would force the replacement of each. Under the worst-case scenario, Zapata estimated that the cost could be $3.43 billion with a 96-month schedule.

Duke Energy commissioned the independent technical review in March to further analyze the potential scope, risks, costs and schedule of the prospective repair. The company has not made a final decision on whether to repair or retire the plant.

“We will proceed with a repair option only if there is a high degree of confidence that the repair can be successfully completed and licensed within the final estimated costs and schedule, and is in the best interests of our customers, joint owners and investors,” it said in a statement.

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