Levy County Nuclear Power Plant
|Levy County Nuclear Power Plant|
Location of Levy County Nuclear Power Plant in Florida
|Location||Levy County, Florida|
|Construction cost||$19–24 billion (including $3 billion for transmission lines)|
|Owner(s)||Progress Energy Inc|
|Nuclear power station|
|Reactor type||AP1000 pressurized water reactors|
The Levy County Nuclear Power Plant is a proposed nuclear power plant in Levy County, Florida. Progress Energy Florida originally estimated that the reactors would cost $5 billion and would commence operation in 2016. But it has become clear that the new Levy County reactors will not start operating for at least another decade, if ever.
Since Progress filed its application for the new plant in 2008 demand for electricity has been growing very slowly, and natural gas prices are now very low. The utility now estimates that the reactors will cost between $17 billion and $22 billion, not counting financing charges and cost overruns. According to economist Mark Cooper, opposition to the project has mounted, threatening a rerun of the 1970s and 1980s, when the majority of nuclear construction plans were canceled or abandoned.
The Levy County Nuclear Power Plant is the umbrella term for a proposed nuclear power plant in Levy County, Florida. Proposed in 2006, Progress Energy Florida (PEF) announced the selection of 5,100 acres (2,100 ha) in southern Levy County for the potential construction of nuclear reactors. The site's proximity to the company's existing Crystal River 3 Nuclear Power Plant was expected to provide opportunities for efficiencies in shared support functions at both facilities. However, Progress Energy (at this point, a subsidiary of Duke Energy) announced the decommissioning of the Crystal River reactor in February 2013 after cracks formed in its containment dome, estimated at $1.5 billion to repair. The company made no reference to constructing any new nuclear facilities in the region, only stating that they are "evaluating a number of potential sites for new plant capacity that may be needed in the future to meet Florida customer needs."
Progress Energy Florida submitted a filing with the Florida Public Service Commission (PSC) on March 11, 2008, outlining its need for additional electricity and proposing to meet that need with two nuclear units in Levy County. The PSC scheduled hearings on the project in late May, and approved it in July. The company then applied for a Combined Construction and Operating License (COL) from the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) on July 30, 2008. Costs of the power plant are estimated at $19–24 billion, including $3 billion for necessary transmission upgrades. The first reactor is expected to come online in 2024 and the second one 18 months later.
On October 14, 2008, the PSC voted to allow PEF to charge customers an additional $11.42 per 1,000 kW·h, beginning in January 2009, to pay for the Levy plant and work upgrading the Crystal River plant.
On January 5, 2009, PEF awarded an engineering, procurement, and construction (EPC) contract to Westinghouse and The Shaw Group's nuclear division to build the two reactors for $7.65 billion. The reactors were supposed to be operational by 2016–18. In May, after the NRC denied permission to begin excavation work on the site to prepare for construction prior to issuing the COL, Progress Energy announced that commercial operation of the two new reactors had been pushed back "a minimum of 20 months." In view of the delay, Progress Energy has requested approval from the Public Service Commission to reduce the project cost to consumers in 2010 from $12.63 to $6.69 per 1000 kW·h.
On August 11, 2009, Florida governor Charlie Crist and his cabinet unanimously adopted the recommendation of the state Department of Environmental Protection, and approved the plant's Site Certification Application (SCA). Site certification is the last major state-level approval needed before Progress can start constructing the Levy plant. The approval included a requirement that Progress shut down coal-fired electrical generating units 1 & 2 at its nearby Crystal River Energy Complex by the end of 2020, assuming the timely licensing and construction of the Levy nuclear power plant.
On August 1, 2013 as part of a comprehensive settlement with a group representing Florida consumers Duke Energy announced termination of the engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) agreement for the Levy nuclear project and consideration of a natural gas-fueled alternative but said it would continue to seek a combined construction and operating license (COL) for the project from the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC). A final decision will be made in the future based on "energy needs, project costs, carbon regulation, natural gas prices, existing or future legislative provisions for cost recovery, and the requirements of the NRC’s COL" and other factors. Research published in May 2013 by The Tampa Bay Times showed that a plant fueled by natural gas was nearly certain to be cheaper than a nuclear-fueled plant over the next 6 decades. About $1 billion had been spent on the preparatory work for the Levy nuclear project.
The Levy County Nuclear Power Plant was planned to consist of two reactors:
|Reactor unit||Reactor type||Capacity||Construction started||Electricity grid connection||Commercial operation||Shutdown|
|Levy County-1 (planned)||AP1000||1117 MW||MW|
|Levy County-2 (planned)||AP1000||1117 MW||MW|
- "levy_aerial.jpg". Progress Energy, Inc. Retrieved 2008-07-20.
- Mark Cooper (2012-68-61). "Nuclear safety and affordable reactors: Can we have both?" (PDF). Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists. Check date values in:
- "Duke Energy cancels EPC contract for Levy County". Nuclear Engineering International. 2 August 2013. Retrieved 5 August 2013.
- "Duke Energy reaches revised multi-year settlement with Florida consumer advocates". Duke Energy. August 3, 2013. Retrieved August 3, 2013.
The company will make a final decision on new nuclear generation in Florida in the future based on, among other factors, energy needs, project costs, carbon regulation, natural gas prices, existing or future legislative provisions for cost recovery, and the requirements of the NRC’s COL.
- "Crystal River Nuclear Plant to be retired; company evaluating sites for potential new gas-fueled generation". 5 February 2013.
- DiSavino, Scott (2008-07-15). "Florida OKs Progress request to build nuclear units". Reuters. Retrieved 2008-07-15.
- "Levy nuclear project moved back by three years". World Nuclear News. May 2, 2012. Retrieved 2012-05-04.
- "Utilities to recover costs of new capacity in Florida". World Nuclear News. October 15, 2008. Retrieved 2009-01-06.
- Russell Ray (January 5, 2009). "Progress Energy To Buy And Build Nuclear Reactors". Tampa Bay Online (MSNBC.com). Retrieved 2009-01-06.
- "Contract to build new nuclear at Levy". World Nuclear News. January 6, 2009. Retrieved 2009-01-06.
- "Shaw and Westinghouse Awarded EPC Contract by Progress Energy Florida for Two AP1000 Nuclear Units at Greenfield Site in Florida". Reuters. January 5, 2009. Retrieved 2009-01-06.
- "Progress Energy Florida signs contract for new, advanced-design nuclear plant". Progress Energy Florida. January 5, 2009. Retrieved 2009-01-06.
- "Delay in groundwork for Florida nuclear". World Nuclear News. May 5, 2009. Retrieved 2009-08-11.
- "Florida cabinet approves Levy plant". World Nuclear News. August 12, 2009. Retrieved 2009-08-11.
- Matthew L. Wald (August 1, 2013). "Florida Nuclear Project Is Dropped". The New York Times. Retrieved August 3, 2013.
- PennIvan Penn (August 1, 2013). "Duke Energy to cancel proposed Levy County nuclear plant". Tampa Bay Times. Retrieved August 3, 2013.
In May, the Times reported that, over a 60 year lifespan, the Levy plant would cost more than an equivalent natural gas plant under any reasonable scenario.
- "Levy nuclear plant project shelved". World Nuclear News. 2 August 2013. Retrieved 5 August 2013.
- Power Reactor Information System of the IAEA: „United States of America: Nuclear Power Reactors- Alphabetic“
- Power Reactor Information System of the IAEA: „Nuclear Power Reactor Details - LEVY COUNTY-1“
- Power Reactor Information System of the IAEA: „Nuclear Power Reactor Details - LEVY COUNTY-2“
- "Progress Energy Florida names potential nuclear plant site in Levy County". Progress Energy, Inc. 2008. Retrieved 2008-07-20.