Progress Energy has submitted an application to the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) for a combined construction and operating licence (COL) for a potential new nuclear power plant in Levy County, Florida.
|How the Levy County plant could look
The COL application filed by Progress for the Levy plant is based on two Westinghouse AP1000 reactors with a combined capacity of 2200 MWe. The NRC will review the application over the next three to four years.
Progress has already purchased about 2060 hectares of greenfield land in southern Levy County, about 13 kilometres from the Gulf of Mexico, and 16 kilometres north of the existing Crystal River nuclear power plant, for the potential construction of two nuclear reactors and associated transmission needs.
The company estimates the total cost of the project to be some $14 billion for the two reactors, plus an additional $3 billion for the necessary transmission equipment. This estimate includes land price, plant components, financing costs, construction, labour, regulatory fees and reactor fuel for two units and about 200 miles of transmission lines and associated equipment.
The submission of the COL application is the last in a series of three important filings in order to consider constructing a nuclear power plant at the Levy County site. The first filing was a "Determination of Need" petition submitted to the Florida Public Service Commission (PSC) in March. On 15 July, the PSC unanimously approved the petition, agreeing with the need to meet future energy needs in Florida with nuclear power. The second filing, a Site Certification Application (SCA), was filed with the Florida Department of Environmental Protection on 2 June. A decision on the SCA filing is expected in 2009.
A letter of intent was signed in April by Progress and AP1000 providers Shaw and Westinghouse to complete negotiations on an engineering procurement and construction contract for the plant.
None of these steps commit Progress to actually build the plant, but each represents a significant investment of time and money ahead of a final decision on building, to be taken "early next year." If the company moves forward with plans for a new nuclear plant at the site, the new plant's first reactor could be online in 2016, with the second reactor coming online in 2017.
Jeff Lyash, president and CEO of Progress Energy Florida, said: "At Progress Energy Florida, we are committed to ensuring safe, clean, reliable and affordable power today and in the future." He added, "Our communities are growing, and we are all using more electricity in our daily lives, so our energy needs are increasing. The addition of an advanced, state-of-the-art nuclear facility in Levy County will add to our already diverse generation portfolio and enable us to address the challenge of climate change with safe, carbon-free power."