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Thursday
Aug012013

Another one bites the dust: Duke to cancel proposed new atomic reactors at Levy County, FL

MAURICE RIVENBARK | Times The crippled nuclear power plant in Crystal River [photo, above] will not be replaced with a new nuclear facility in Levy County, state Rep. Mike Fasano said Thursday.---Tampa Bay TimesAs reported by the Tampa Bay Times, Florida State Representative Mike Fasano (R-New Port Richey) has stated: "It's my understanding from a very good source that Duke Energy will announce after the close of the markets today that they will not be building the nuclear power plants in Levy County."

The article reports: 'Duke spokesman Sterling Ivey told the Tampa Bay Times the utility is issuing a press release about an announcement at 4:15 this afternoon.'

The proposed new nuclear power plant was supposed to have cost $4-6 billion, and to have been completed by 2016, when first proposed by Progress Energy in 2006. Recently, the price tag had risen to nearly $25 billion, and the estimated completion date had been delayed to 2024.

Florida's controversial "Construction Work in Progress" (CWIP) law, also known as the "advance fee law," has allowed Progress, and then Duke (which took over Progress) to charge ratepayers on their electricity bills for the construction of Levy County nuclear power plant. After intially supporting nuclear CWIP, Fasano has become an outspoken national opponent of the scheme. Even the Florida Tea Party has joined the chorus, including AARP and municipalities, in opposing risky CWIP subsidies to the nuclear industry at the expense of ratepayers.

In addition to Levy County, Progress/Duke has been able to charge ratepayers for senseless repairs and supposed upgrades at its doomed old atomic reactor, Crystal River. The nuclear utility managed to fatally crack Crystal River's containment in 2009, during a botched steam generator replacement, and earlier this year announced its permanent shutdown.

The Tampa Bay Times reports that Florida ratepayers could be on the hook for $3 billion in wasted expenditures at Levy County and Crystal River, collected via CWIP.

The article concludes:

'"Shame on Duke Energy, Progress Energy for taking the public on this ride knowing that they were never going to build the nuclear plants,'' Fasano said. "Shame on them."

Fasano called for the state Public Service Commission and the Legislature to conduct a full investigation into Duke's failed nuclear projects.'