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Proposed Levy county nuclear plant moves forward

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Duke Energy is planning to move forward with its effort to build a $24-billion nuclear plant in Levy County.

The announcement on Monday came as a surprise to many who heard Jim Rogers, chief executive officer of Duke Energy, speak to the Public Service Commission in August.

When Rogers spoke to the commission, he said the company would secure its federal operating license and then decide if it wanted to continue with the project.

“We’ve made a decision to build Levy,” Jeff Lyash, executive vice president of Energy Supply for Duke Energy, told the Tampa Bay Times. “I’m confident in the schedule and numbers.”

The company plans to start construction in 2016 to have the plant online by 2024.

“I understand it may have come across as different statement, but it is two ways of saying the same thing,” said Mike Hughes, spokesman for Duke Energy.

He said he expects the Nuclear Regulatory Commission will grant Duke its combined construction and operating license for the Levy plant in 2013.

Duke Energy will update the Nuclear Regulatory Commission every year with costs and factors regarding the power plant, Hughes said.

“We have to be as flexible as possible in the next few years,” he said.

Hughes said it is “virtually impossible” to determine the average cost to residents around the area because of the plan’s complexity, but high costs are normal when a project of this size comes to an area. The Times article cites a $20 per month increase to the average user’s bill starting in 2018.

When Progress Energy, which has since become a part of Duke Energy, proposed the project in 2006, it was projected to cost $4 billion to $6 billion. Now, the price tag is $24 billion.

About Ben Brasch

Ben is a reporter for WUFT News and can be contacted by calling 352-392-6397 or emailing news@wuft.org.

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