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Nuclear plant shutting down, but customers still pay | News

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Nuclear plant shutting down, but customers still pay

Crystal River, Florida -- In 60 years, the smoke will be blown out for good at the Crystal River Nuclear Plant, and that's why Duke Energy was in Crystal River Thursday answering questions to customers about the facility's decommissioning.

"Nuclear safety is our top priority," says Heather Danenhower, spokesperson with Duke Energy.

Danenhower says 300 people still work at the plant, making sure things are safe and secure as possible.

"Are full time around the clock security force remain in place 24 hours a day, 7 days a week,"says Danenhower.

For Jim Harpin, he cares about the safety, but he questions what Duke is taking out of his pocket book.

"We're all pretty upset about it," says Harpin.

Harpin doesn't understand why he's paying every month for a power plant that's closing and another one in Levy County that will never even be built.

"We don't have much choice. We don't like it. But there's not a lot to do about it right now," says Harpin.

See Also: Rare look inside troubled nuclear power plant

'The Crystal River nuclear plant, Duke energy in general follows under Public Service Commission process for all the charges that are paid to a customer's  bill. When we  make upgrades to a plant whether its Crystal River nuclear plant or Levy nuclear plant or any of are plants,  that's subject to Florida Public Service Commission process . They are state regulators and they determine how much we are able to charge customers," says Danenhower.

Those upgrades, however, were botched and as a result Duke is forced to close the plant down. So that's what customers are still paying for?

Duke is set to get roughly seven percent of the $100 million its customers will pay to stabilize the reactor's cracked containment building.

While customers are still paying for the botched job at the Crystal River plant and the non-existent Levy County plant, Duke Energy says when it comes to the decommission itself, that is something already taken care of: Duke has the $1.8 billion in a decommission trust fund secured away. 

Where did that money come from? The customer, of course.

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