Progress initiatives delay reactor decision

31 May 2007

US utility Progress Energy announced that it will putback new nuclear build and postpone building coal-fire power plants during a two-year $50-60 million energy efficiency drive in North Carolina. Progress will evaluate the effectiveness of the program overthe next two years in order to determine the viability of reducing electricity demand further. The company said that "reductions in future electricity demand growth through energy efficiency could push the need for new power plants farther into the future." Progress has notified the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) that its plans for a new reactor at its Harris nuclear power plant in North Carolina have been put back. If the decision to construct the unit is made, the reactor would become operational in 2018 at the earliest, at least two years later than originally planned. Progress said that a final decision on building new nuclear capacity "is still more than a year away." The company, part of the NuStart Energy consortium, earlier said it would submit a combined construction and operating licence (COL) applicationto the NRC in late 2007 for up to two Westinghouse AP1000 reactors at the Harris site.