Crystal River nuclear plant

Duke Energy’s Crystal River coal-fired units 1 and 2 are shown alongside the nuclear plant. All are scheduled to be decommissioned and dismantled.

On Thursday, people can find out more about Duke Energy’s decommissioning of its retired Crystal River Nuclear Plant.

The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) will hold a meeting from 6-9 p.m. at the Citrus County Chamber of Commerce building at 915 U.S.19 in Crystal River,

The purpose is to discuss best practices and lessons learned associated with forming advisory boards in communities that have decommissioning nuclear plants.

Duke in May announced it will decommission the plant in 2027 — almost 50 years sooner than originally scheduled.

The plan is subject to approval by the NRC and the Florida Public Service Commission and that could take a year. 

Crystal River resident Jim Baumstark, a retired navy captain who has worked in nuclear power plants, plans to be there and address the fact that Duke never completed a formal economic analysis of the plant closure. 

He also will question why Duke or local government officials never pressed for creation of a Community Advisory Board to address decommissioning issues.

Duke spokeswoman Heather Danenhower said in lieu of an advisory board, the company created an informal community stakeholders group.

"Based on statistically valid data and input from our community, forming a formal advisory board was not necessary for us and was not the best avenue to meet the needs of our community," Danenhower said.

Duke's outreach plan will "use a variety of communications channels that stakeholders identified as most valuable," she said.

The NRC has hosted 10 other meetings across the country since August, and their findings are expected to be part of a congressional report filed in 2020.

Contact Chronicle reporter Michael D. Bates at 352-563-3205 or mbates@chronicleonline.com.

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