Approval for two new reactors at Turkey Point and the required transmission lines has been granted by Florida state authorities.
State governor Rick Scott and a majority of cabinet members voted in favour of the new nuclear project yesterday, approving at the same time a route for new transmission lines that had been contested by some city officials.
This brought to a conclusion the state's 'one-stop-shop' approval process for new power plants that included an eight-week hearing last year after five years of liaison with community leaders. Florida Power and Light (FPL) spokesman Peter Robbins told World Nuclear News that the consultation over the transmission route had been the major part of the process, but the company was sure the approved route would have the least effect on local people due to being co-located as much as possible with existing infrastructure.
FPL's plan is to add two AP1000 units to Turkey Point nuclear power plant, which already features two reactors built in the 1970s and is part of complex including two gas-fired units and an oil-fired unit.
"The new nuclear reactors would generate enough electricity to power 750,000 homes," wrote site vice president Mike Kiley in an opinion piece for local newspaper the SunSentinel, "FPL customers will be pleased to know that these new units will save us all more than $170 billion in fossil fuel costs over 60 years of operation."
The approval was also lauded by the Consumer Energy Alliance, which said, "Expanded electricity generation in Florida will be necessary to power our expanding population and economy."
FPL has been officially planning to expand nuclear generation at Turkey Point since 2006, when it informed the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) that it intended to file for a construction and operating licence for new units. It made the application in 2009, and in 2011 the Florida Public Service Commission allowed FPL to add a small charge to its customers bills to fund the nuclear investment.
The licence application for the new reactors remains with the NRC, which could complete its work by early 2016. FPL hope to secure these permissions and build the plant in time to generate electricity from the first new reactor in mid-2022.
Four AP1000 units are already under construction in America: Southern Nuclear is building a pair at Vogtle in Georgia, while South Carolina Electric and Gas is bilding another pair at Summer. In addition, the Tennessee Valley Authority is working to complete the Watts Bar 2 reactor, bringing the total of reactors under construction in the USA to five.
Researched and written
by World Nuclear News