With the nuclear plant and the two oldest coal plants on the Duke Crystal River site now closed and scheduled for eventual demolition, the county commission is entertaining the idea of reviving the Port Citrus idea using the intake canal coming in to the plant.

The idea has obvious advantages over the earlier Port Citrus idea of using the barge canal, because the shipping channel leading from the Gulf to the plant has been dredged enough to allow ocean-going barges to traverse it, and there is a rail line going into the plant.

This is part of the information that is in the 2011 study done to support the county’s designation as a port.

At the time, however, Duke said it was not interested in developing a port on the plant site.

Since that time, the three generating units alongside the intake canal have been closed, and with Duke now planning to demolish the coal plants soon and start the decommissioning process next year, the county hopes the company will be more interested in working with the county to develop the port.

However, even if Duke is willing to work with the county, there are significant obstacles to developing the port.

First, even with the nuclear plant shut down, the used fuel from the plant is still stored on site. This fuel is stored in concrete bunkers and would need to be moved to a permanent repository before a port could be developed.

Also, even though the two coal units adjacent to the intake canal are to be demolished, the coal yard on the south side of the intake canal would remain in operation because it receives coal that will be burned in the plants to the north of the canal. All coal coming in to the plant, either by rail, or by barge, is unloaded in this coal yard and then sent by conveyor belt to the remaining two coal plants.

None of these are insurmountable issues, but they underscore that should the plant site ever be developed as a port, it will take time, money, and close cooperation with Duke to make it happen.

Unlimited digital access offer

To continue with unlimited access to Chronicle Online after this limited time trial click the button below. Offer expires September 30, 2019.

(4) comments

RobertRoscow

Apparently the BOCC has not heard of Port Tampa. Maybe they should go visit it so they at least know what a Port looks like. Port Tampa just spent $24 Million for two new container cranes that can reach across the much wider container ships. The latest of these delivered 8,500 containers. These are actual ships that can use Port Tampa. It seems the BOCC doesn’t know the difference between a barge and a ship. A ship cannot use the Duke channel, only barges. Containers are typically shipped on ships not barges. Port Tampa also handles bulk and has for years but now looks to supply the I-4 Corridor that is becoming the economic engine of central Florida. Lecanto has a Super Walmart and a WaWa. I believe the BOCC better see what Duke plans and then study Port Tampa.

CitrusCo Citizen

Is the port to be used by the fossil fuel tycoons for shipping LNG to other countries all for the purpose of making those rich guys richer? What's in it for the people of Citrus County and surrounding counties. Nothing. Who loses when huge ocean going tankers cruise to and from Port Citrus? All of the marine life along that area of the nature coast. The sea grass beds which provide food and habitat for manatees, scallops, stone crabs, small fry of many species, sea turtles, etc. etc. The coastlines and sea beds will quickly become more of the "Dead Zones" that are growing along the Gulf Coast. Those who depend on the fishing, and tourism industries around Crystal River will lose their livelihood. And the decision-makers of Citrus County and the fossil fuel tycoons could care less about them or the marine life. To them, Greed is Good.

GMEN

We may not agree on much, but OMG - Kill this stupid Port Citrus idea!! Every study ever done says it isn't practical - if it was private enterprise would build one. Somebody must own stock in the consultants company.

CitrusCo Citizen

I'm afraid it is too late--the plan has been in the works for years, unbeknownst to We the People of Citrus and Levy Counties. The real purpose of the 500 mile Sabal fracked methane natural gas pipeline and the LNG (highly explosive liquid natural gas) compressor station in Dunnellon is to benefit private companies, even foreign ones like the German Strom Company as they export LNG (liquid natural gas) to foreign countries in the Caribbean, Asia and even Europe. Ports Tampa, Jacksonville, and Miami are not enough for them--they need to save trucking costs by dredging out a conveniently located deep water port in Central FL's Gulf Coast, which is located close to an LNG compressor station, a major highway ( e.g. the proposed Suncoast Boondoggle through Citrus County) for LNG bomb trucks, and located on Duke-owned land, where they are already planning huge storage tanks (within a mile of 7 Rivers Hospital and people's homes, no less). They also have snapped up huge swaths of inexpensive land through Citrus, Levy, Gilchrist, Alachua, etc. counties because "miraculously" their newly purchased lands are now designated as "Opportunity Zones". Guess who will profit from owning these Opportunity Zones, as Port Citrus and the Suncoast Boondoggle are constructed for exporting LNG? The fossil fuel tycoons, of course--billionaire tycoons who are in bed with Florida's politicians and are greedy and selfish. As long as they can get away with it, they will, because they can. I don't know who or what can stop them. The only thing we can do is continue to investigate and uncover their plans, expose them to the public, and vote out the politicians who support and benefit financially from them. But I fear that, like terminal cancer, they're now embedded and well established and will just continue to grow exponentially. And we taxpayers will be stuck with the bill.

Welcome to the discussion.

Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
PLEASE TURN OFF YOUR CAPS LOCK.
Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.