Progress Energy announced Tuesday another delay in its plan to build two new nuclear power plants at a site in western Florida. The Levy power plant had originally been scheduled to open 2016, but with Tuesday’s announcement, it appears that the plant can’t be opened before 2024, if it opens at all.
In addition, Progress announced a new estimate for the cost of the project. As the Tampa Bay Times reported today:
“…early estimates in 2006 indicated the Levy project would cost $4 billion to $6 billion with start-up in 2016. The cost changed in 2007 to $10 billion and in 2008 to $17 billion. In 2011 it reached $22.4 billion with start-up in 2021.
Now it’s up to $24 billion with it going online in 2024 for the first of the two reactors and the second 18 months later.
One prominent anti-nuclear expert was floored by the new cost estimate:
Arnie Gundersen, a nuclear engineer who testifies before state public service commissions about nuclear plants, said Progress’ plan makes “no economic sense.”
“The amount is so freaking huge that having a license really isn’t going to matter,” Gundersen said. “It’s breathtaking.”
Thanks to the unique set of financial perks nuclear power enjoys, the ratepayers of Florida will get soaked, even if the plant doesn’t get built. According to the Times:
Progress’ 1.6 million Florida customers already are paying $1.1 billion toward the Levy project, though the utility has not made a final decision whether to build the plant.
Here’s a link to the Tampa Bay Times article: http://www.tampabay.com/news/business/energy/progress-energy-raises-price-tag-delays-start-date-of-levy-nuclear-plant/1227830