Shaw Group and Westinghouse have signed a letter of intent with Progress Energy Florida to complete negotiations on an engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) contract for two new reactors to be built in Levy County.
|AP1000 and its components
JM Bernhard, Shaw's president, chairman and CEO, praised Progress Energy's selection of the AP1000 consortium, in which Shaw and Westinghouse are partners. "We look forward to working with Progress Energy and Westinghouse to finalize the EPC contract that will provide Progress and its customers with the most advanced power plants available in the world today," he added, noting that the consortium is already working to deliver four AP1000 pressurized water reactors at two sites in China.
The letter of intent also authorizes Shaw to continue with limited site development activities and Westinghouse to make commitments for the procurement of long lead-time materials for the proposed AP1000 units. With waiting times standing at about eight years for the specialized large forgings needed for nuclear power plants, many would-be reactor builders are making moves to procure such components well in advance of the likely start of construction work.
The Levy County plant now looks likely to be the first to be built at a new site in the USA for over 30 years. Progress Energy filed a submission outlining its proposal for the new plant to the Florida State and Public Services Commission in March, a necessary step in preparation for filing a combined construction and operating licence (COL) application with the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC).
Levy on fast track
Given the expected growth in energy demand in Florida, the Levy County project is likely to be on a faster track than Progress Energy’s other nuclear new build project in North Carolina, according to CEO Bill Johnson. "Although challenges certainly remain, the prospects of building new state-of-the-art nuclear power plants are the best in many years," Johnson noted in his annual letter to shareholders issued with the company's annual report last week. Progress filed a COL application for two AP1000s at its existing nuclear power plant at Harris, North Carolina, in February.