Progress Energy Won’t Finish New Reactors Before 2020
(Corrects headline, schedule for reactor construction in first paragraph of story published Feb. 17.)
“The timetable for those plants has slipped,” Johnson said today at a Platts nuclear-energy conference in Rockville, Maryland. “They’re now 2020 or later.”
Progress, based in Raleigh, North Carolina, remains “committed to nuclear expansion” and may buy stakes in other reactor projects, said Johnson, whose company agreed last month to be bought by Duke Energy Corp. of Charlotte, North Carolina.
The company’s own reactor construction plans will be “much more feasible” after the merger because of the combined companies’ “much bigger balance sheet,” he said. The cost of building a two-reactor nuclear plant is about $13 billion, Johnson said.
Progress had “casual conversations” with Scana Corp. and state-owned utility Santee Cooper about taking a stake in the reactor project near Jenkinsville, South Carolina, Johnson said today in an interview. Talks will get “more realistic” when the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission grants a construction and operating license for the plant, he said.
The U.S. hasn’t issued a new construction license for a nuclear power plant in more than 30 years. Cayce, South Carolina-based Scana’s project and Atlanta-based Southern Co.’s planned reactors in Georgia probably will be the first to win licenses from the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission and start construction, Johnson said.
Power companies that want to build their own reactors need to help Scana and Southern “as much as we can” to make sure the first plants are built profitably, Johnson said.
“These are going to be the harbingers of success in this industry,” he said.
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