Florida Power & Light (FPL) is considering adding up to 3400 MWe of new nuclear generating capacity by 2020 by uprating its existing reactors and constructing two new units in order to meet future energy demand.
FPL announced at a Florida Public Service Commission workshop on the state's future energy needs on 15 August that it intends to apply to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) by the end of September to uprate its four existing reactors (two pressurized water reactors each at Turkey Point and St Lucie) by 100 MWe each. The equipment and technical upgrades needed to increase the power output of these units would be conducted during scheduled refuelling outages by 2012.
In addition, FPL will also request permission from the NRC to pursue the construction of two additional reactors at its Turkey Point plant by 2020, which could add up to a further 3000 MWe of nuclear capacity. However, the company stressed that its plans for building new nuclear units are "still at an early stage of development."
Armando Olivera, president of FPL, said, "Additional nuclear energy will be a major contributor to meeting Governor Crist's aggressive goals for reducing greenhouse gases while cost-effectively supporting the needs of a growing population in Florida. It also will help cushion the price swings associated with oil and natural gas." He added that, "For nearly 35 years, nuclear power has been providing our customers with safe, affordable and reliable power."
Nuclear power currently provides 20% of the energy needs of FPL's 4.4 million customer accounts, a company statement noted. With FPL's customer base expected to grow to 5.5 million customers by 2020, the new projects will have nuclear power meeting more than 30% of the increased total energy demand by then. FPL projects that the additional nuclear power capacity will avoid an estimated 11 million tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions annually in Florida.
In April, FPL announced a strategy to meet future electricity demand. As part of the strategy, the company said it planned to increase its generating capacity by some 28% by 2016. At the time, it anticipated having additional nuclear capacity in Florida by 2018 or beyond. The updated growth forecasts and plans for increasing and diversifying generation are part of a system-wide resource plan that FPL submits annually to the Florida Public Service Commission. The company's ten-year resource plan anticipates adding some 6700 MWe of generating capacity to its current capacity of 24,360 MWe.
Florida Power & Light
WNA's US Nuclear Power Industry information paper
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