Duke seeks to cancel plans for Lee AP1000s

29 August 2017

Duke Energy has said it is seeking regulatory permission to cancel its plan to construct the William States Lee III nuclear power plant. Duke was issued with a licence in late 2016 to build and operate two AP1000 units at the site in South Carolina.

The company said on 25 August it is seeking approval from the North Carolina Utilities Commission to cancel the development of the project due to the recent bankruptcy of Toshiba Corporation's Westinghouse Electric subsidiary and "other market activity".

"Most notably, risks and uncertainties to initiating construction on the Lee nuclear project have become too great and cancellation of the project is the best option for customers," Duke said. The company said it will maintain the licence to construct a new nuclear power plant at the site in future, "if it is in the best interest of customers".

Duke, operator of 11 nuclear units in the Carolinas at six plant sites, noted: "Nuclear energy is a vital component of Duke Energy's generation portfolio now and in the future - providing reliable, carbon-free electricity to the Carolinas."

Duke submitted a combined construction and operation licence (COL) application with the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) for the proposed Lee plant at the end of 2007. The application is based on two Westinghouse AP1000 pressurized water reactors with a combined capacity of 2234 MWe at a greenfield site near Gaffney in Cherokee County.

The utility said in July 2013, when a delay in the site safety evaluation was announced, that it would maintain a target completion date for the new power plant proposal for some time in the 2020s.

In August 2016, the NRC completed its final safety evaluation report for Lee COL application. The regulator concluded there were no safety concerns that would inhibit a construction and operating license for the project.

The NRC issued Duke with a combined construction and operating licence for the Lee plant in last December. At that time the company said it had yet to decide whether or not to go ahead and construct the plant.

Researched and written
by World Nuclear News