Plans filed with Florida regulators for new reactors

17 October 2007

Florida Power & Light (FPL) has filed its plans with the Florida Public Service Commission (PSC) for two new nuclear power reactors at its Turkey Point plant.


FPL is seeking a 'determination of need' by the PSC in what is the first step in obtaining formal approval from state regulators to construct two additional units at Turkey Point by 2020. The project would add some 2200 to 3000 MWe of generating capacity. Final official state approval of the project must be given by the governor and his cabinet.


Earlier in 2007, Florida regulators turned down FPL's request to construct a new coal-burning plant in South Florida. The regulatory panel said then that the costs for coal plants in the future were not certain because of the prospect of additional emissions requirements that might be enacted in the future.


In 2006, FPL informed the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) that it intended to file an application for a combined construction and operating licence (COL) for two new units at Turkey Point. The company outlined its plans for adding new nuclear capacity on 15 August 2007 at a PSC workshop on Florida's future energy needs. FPL said it planned to add up to 3400 MWe of new nuclear generating capacity by 2020 by uprating its existing reactors and constructing two new units.


FPL said that, if approved and constructed, the two new reactors - designated Turkey Point units 6 and 7 - would "avoid putting more than seven million tons of carbon dioxide per year into the air that would otherwise be generated if the company had proposed building fossil fuel plants."


"Additional nuclear energy can help supply reliable, affordable power to our customers while avoiding greenhouse gas emissions that scientists have determined contribute to climate change," said FPL's President, Armando Olivera. "Nuclear power helps to meet Governor Charlie Crist's goals for reducing emissions and diversifying our fuel sources." He added that "nuclear power also can help our customers by dampening any future sharp price swings in fossil fuel costs and enhancing energy security."


On 17 August, FPL applied to the PSC for permission 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. The uprate project must also be approved by the NRC.


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.


Further information


Florida Power & Light

Florida Public Service Commission


WNA's US Nuclear Power Industry information paper


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