Contract to build new nuclear at Levy

06 January 2009

A construction contract has been signed for a new nuclear power plant in the USA. The deal between Progress Energy and the Westinghouse and Shaw consortium is the third so far.


Levy Artist's Impression (ProgressEnergy) 
How the two reactors should one day
look (Image: Progress Energy)
Two AP1000 nuclear power reactors are to be built at a new site in Levy County, Florida under the contract, valued at $7.65 billion plus inflation, owner costs and contingencies.


Progress said the total cost to it would reach $14 billion when finance, land price, labour, regulatory fees and initial batches of reactor fuel were included. Another cost is to be some $3 billion to provide 200 miles (320 km) of transmission lines - one of the largest such developments ever in Florida.


When complete, around 2016-18, the reactor units will generate 1105 MWe each. Progress said this would allow it to shut down its two oldest coal-fired power units at Crystal River and save five million tons of carbon dioxide emissions per year. The company added that Florida ratepayers would benefit from up to $1 billion per year in fuel cost savings compared to its existing mix of power plants. The reactors would also all but completely avoid any charges for carbon dioxide emissions that could arise during their 60 years of expected operation.


 Levy Site Overview (Progress Energy)
How the new plant will be laid out (Image: Progress Energy)


The timeline for construction work has not yet been defined as this depends on authorisation to start from the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC). Progress applied for a combined construction and operating licence for the new plant in August last year, and the AP1000 design already holds design certification from the NRC, although some analysis continues on certain detailed changes to the certified design.


Progress holds approval for the project from the Florida Public Service Commission, which certified the need for new low-carbon generation in the state. Certification of the Levy site as suitable for nuclear development by the Florida Environmental Department of Environmental Protection is expected this year.


The contract will see AP1000 designer Westinghouse and its partner The Shaw Group provide procurement, engineering and construction services for the project. It is the third such deal for the firms in the USA, after one with Georgia Power for the Vogtle site, near Waynesboro, and another with South Carolina Electric & Gas Company (SCE&G) and Santee Cooper regarding the Summer site near Jenkinsville. All the contracts are for twin AP1000 developments. AP1000s are beginning construction in China, while announcements towards their deployment are expected soon in the UK.