Duke Energy will purchase Southern Company's interest in the proposed William States Lee III nuclear power plant in Cherokee County, South Carolina, USA.
The two companies signed a joint ownership agreement in March 2006 which would have given 500 MWe of the proposed plant's output to Southern. The agreement between Duke and Southern included provisions for either company to withdraw from the project, which could see a two-unit plant with a capacity of more than 2200 MWe operating by 2016.
Barnie Beasley, president and CEO of Southern Nuclear, a subsidiary of Southern Co, said: "We will continue to participate in a variety of nuclear development options and evaluate what will be best for our customers, including our evaluation of potentially building two new units at Plant Vogtle." The company has applied to the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) for an Early Site Permit (ESP) for its Vogtle site in Georgia and plans to submit a combined construction and operating licence (COL) for the two proposed reactors in 2008. The reactor design chosen by the company is Westinghouse's AP1000, a 1100 MWe pressurized water reactor.
Duke plans to apply to the NRC for a COL for the Lee plant, based on two AP1000s, later in 2007.
The company has announced plans to add some 3300-4100 MWe of generating capacity by 2016, an increase of at least 15% over its current capacity. In addition to the $4-$6 billion it will spend on 2200 MWe of nuclear capacity at Lee, Duke also plans to construct two gas-fired plants in North Carolina. It is also considering spending more than $1.9 billion on building a new 800 MWe coal-fired unit at its existing coal-fired Cliffside plant in North Carolina.
Jim Rogers, chairman of Duke Energy, said: "If we're going to slow and eventually reverse global warming, the world has got to move to energy sources that don't emit carbon and other greenhouse gases. Nuclear energy is the best commercially available technology today to produce large amounts of electricity with no greenhouse gases." He added, "As one of the nation's pre-eminent nuclear operators, Duke Energy is in a position to play a leadership role in building and operating a new generation of nuclear plants."
WNA's US Nuclear Power Industryinformation paper