As a former resident of the west coast of Florida, (and the father of a daughter who still lives there), I gave a silent cheer this week as I read the news that Progress Energy had signed a contract to build two new nuclear plants at a green field site in Levy County. Part of the reason for my enthusiasm is that the announcement included a statement that Progress Energy would shut down two of the older coal units at the Crystal River power plant – currently the host of four coal and one nuclear power plant – when the nuclear plant begins operating.
My – not yet born – grandchildren will have cleaner air to breathe.
If you want some good, solid, contracted numbers for various portions of the cost of a new nuclear plant located in Florida, you can find them in this detailed article – Progress Energy Florida Signs Contract For New, Advanced-Design Nuclear Plant.
Progress Energy has decided that it will move forward without using DOE loan guarantees since that process is bogged down in bureaucratic and political delays and the company believes that it needs to move forward with due haste in order to meet customer needs for power in the 2016-2096 time frame. (Note: I expect that the next generation of large nuclear plants will be operated for about 80 years.)
One reason Progress Energy was able to move forward is that the state PUC has determined that it is in the consumer interest to allow the company to include some small monthly charges to existing customers for Construction Work in Progress. (CWIP) Making that decision reduces the project risk by preventing interest payments on the early investments to pile up over time before the plant can be added to the rate base.
Dan Yurman at Idaho Samizdat has some additional information on this project at Progress puts the juice in Florida’s nuclear future.