STATUS: In progress with opposition
OPPOSITION: The Green Party of Florida; Nuclear Information and Resource Service; Ecology Party; Citizens for Ratepayers Rights
BACKGROUND: Progress Energy submitted an application to the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) on July 30, 2008 requesting to build two Westinghouse AP1000(TM) nuclear reactors at the site. In early 2009, Progress estimated total construction costs to be around $14 billion, when finance, land price, labor, regulatory fees and initial batches of reactor fuel were included. By April 2010, the estimate had increased to $17.2 to $22.5 billion. Another cost is to be some $3 billion to provide 200 miles (320 km) of transmission lines – one of the largest such developments ever in Florida. When complete, around 2016-18, the reactor units will generate 1105 megawatts each, for a total output of over 2,200 megawatts. Progress holds approval for the project from the Florida Public Service Commission, which certified the need for new low-carbon generation in the state. The Florida Department of Environmental Protection certified the Levy site as suitable for nuclear development in August 2009. Opponents say the utility should be building less-risky power plants that use renewable resources to generate electricity.
On February 6, 2009 the Green Party of Florida, along with the Nuclear Information and Resource Service and the Ecology Party, filed a legal challenge to a new nuclear power plant. On February 8, 2010, a group called Citizens for Ratepayers Rights sued Progress over the proposal. The groups cited costs, alternative technologies (energy efficiency, renewable energy), financial qualifications, and aquatic and radioactive waste impacts among their complaints.
On August 12, 2010, as part of the NRC’s draft environmental impact statement for the project, the NRC recommended the site for a combined construction permit and operating license, finding no significant impact. However, additional reviews and hearings remain, and the earliest the project could receive a license would be late 2012.
SOURCES Progress Energy (http://progress-energy.com/aboutenergy/poweringthefuture_florida/levy/levycounty_announcement.pdf;
Florida Department of Environmental Protection (http://www.dep.state.fl.us/secretary/news/2009/08/0811_02.htm);
World Nuclear News (http://www.world-nuclear-news.org/newsarticle.aspx?id=24250);
Green Party Watch (http://www.greenpartywatch.org/2009/02/20/florida-green-party-files-petition-opposing-new-nuclear-power-plant/);
Green Party of Florida (http://www.gp.org/press/pr-national.php?ID=296);
Tampa Bay Online (http://www2.tbo.com/content/2008/dec/01/meetings-thursday-proposed-levy-nuclear-plant/; http://www.tampabay.com/news/business/energy/proposed-levy-county-nuclear-plant-clears-an-early-hurdle-but-more-ahead/1114232);
Last Updated: November 8, 2010