Progress Energy pushed back the scheduled completion of planned new nuclear reactors in Florida and North Carolina until after 2020, CEO William Johnson was quoted by Bloomberg as saying.

“The timetable for those plants has slipped,” Johnson said. “They’re now 2020 or later.”

Progress, based in Raleigh, N.C., 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.

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, S.C., Johnson said. Talks will get “more realistic” when the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission grants a construction and operating license for the plant.

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