NRC Grants Duke Energy Two Nuclear Reactor Licenses

By Editors of Power Engineering

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission has granted Duke Energy licenses for two nuclear power reactors near Gaffney, South Carolina.

However, Duke officials are currently undecided whether to actually build the potential Williams States Lee nuclear power plant, which could cost as much as $11 billion, the Charlotte Observer reported.

“We evaluate new generation based on, among other factors, energy needs, project costs, carbon regulation, natural gas prices, and existing or future legislative provisions for cost recovery,” said Rita Sipe, spokeswoman for Duke Energy. “The ultimate decision and timing of Lee will be based on what is in the best interest of our customers and will be founded on the best information available at the time we make the decision.”

Duke originally proposed the plant in 2006, and had estimated it would begin operations in 2016. A July filing indicates the company has spent nearly $495 million in preconstruction costs since 2011.

Earlier this year, Duke Energy said new nuclear capacity could be a necessity as early as the mid-2020s. However, in 2013 Duke cancelled the engineering, procurement and construction contract for a new nuclear plant in Levy County, Florida in favor of natural gas.

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