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Progress Energy Nuclear Plants Approved

July 15th, 2008 by Mike Vasilinda

Florida has 5 nuclear plants, but could have 9 over the next decade. A state regulatory agency today gave the go ahead for 2 new plants on the gulf coast near an existing plant at Crystal River. As Mike Vasilinda tells us, it will take at least 8 years for the power to start flowing, but electric users will see a bill as early as next year.

Crystal River is the home of one of the states 5 nuclear plants. Its owner, Progress Energy, will build two new plants on land ten miles to the north.

The plants received unanimous approval from the Florida Public Service Commission.
Progress Energy says the plants are safe, will cut down on carbon emissions, and will wean the state from foreign oil.

Nuclear will provide a stable energy source for the future, as well as help with the concerns about global warming and greenhouse gas because this is zero emission, Vincent Dolan with Progress Energy said.

The plants will cost 14 billion dollars and require another 3 billion in upgraded transmission lines.

The plants wont be online until 2016 or later, but the bills start showing up in January.

The plants will add seven to nine dollars a month to the cost of each 1000 kilowatts used. The 2006 legislature allowed companies to recoup expenses early as an incentive to build new plants. Floridas Public Counsel says this is the first time the law will apply.

Its certainly a departure from past practices, Public Counsel J.R. Kelly said.

And as a sign that high gas and oil prices are taking their toll, just one opponent of the plants showed up for the vote.

When operational the plants will produce enough electricity for about a quarter million homes.

Progress is considering allowing other investors such as cities and electric cooperatives to buy into the plant. Those customers will also pay a proportional share of building the plants.

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