WUFT News

Levy County awaits power plant license as Florida’s Supreme Court reviews Florida’s Energy Act

By on October 8th, 2012

The Florida Supreme Court is reviewing a current law that allows utilities to charge customers in advance for the construction of nuclear power plants.

Contributed photo/Progress Energy.

The Crystal River Power Plant in Citrus County.

Southern Alliance for Clean Energy filed an appeal against the law, which was passed in 2006 to encourage the expansion of nuclear energy.

Customers usually do not have to pay for power plants’ expenses until the plant goes into service, but Florida’s Energy Act has an exception for nuclear reactors and allows for a nuclear cost recovery fee.

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission is deciding whether to grant a license to Progress Energy, a subsidiary of Duke Energy, to build a nuclear power plant with two reactors in Levy County. Executives with Duke Energy have indicated the total projected cost for the new reactors could be as high as $24 billion.

Although construction for the plant has not begun, Levy County resident Emily Casey said she’s already seen the effects on her utility bill.

“We’re paying for something that may not really occur,” she said. There’s no guarantee or anything put into place that would return the money back if they did not get built.”

Republican State Senator Mike Fasano, who voted for the legislation, said the need for the power plant no longer exists. He said the Public Service Commission should put an end to the fee if there is no confirmation that Progress Energy is going to build the nuclear power plant.

Progress Energy spokeswoman Suzanne Grant said Levy County provides the amount of land and water source needed to build the power plant. She said the nuclear cost recovery fee will help lower the cost of the plant over time.

“By having the cost recovery legislation in place, that helps lower the overall cost of the plant for our customers sort of like if you pay your credit card every month as opposed to making the minimum payment due and allowing the interest to rack up over time,” she said.

Nancy Argenziano, a former Public Service Commissioner who’s running for State House District 34 as an independent, said she was the only one to vote no on the nuclear cost recovery fee. She said she thinks the fee is wrong and needs to be addressed properly by committees.

“Sometimes there’s a reason to pay upfront if it spreads the cost out over the years, but this was done totally wrong from the beginning,” she said. “I believe it was industry written. I don’t believe the PSC wrote it. I don’t believe the legislative staff wrote it.”

Levy County Commissioner Ryan Bell said the power plant could add up to 6,000 jobs and could bring in 40 percent more tax dollars for Levy County.

“I have observed Progress Energy’s partnership with Citrus County through the duration of my life, and it seems to be a very positive impact for Citrus County,” he said. “I do think that Levy County’s geography and need for professional careers could be a great fit with Progress Energy, and I think it’s definitely something that is needed for our local economy to survive.”

Mary Olson, southeast coordinator for the Nuclear Information and Resource Service

The Army Corps of Engineers recently gave a report detailing how the environment would not suffer from the plant construction in Levy County. However, Mary Olson the Southeast Coordinator for Nuclear Information and Resource Service, a not-for-profit environmental advocacy group, said the impact of building two reactors in Levy County would have a large impact on the environment, including potentially drying out the county’s springs.

Olson said Progress Energy may be granted a license in 2014 at the earliest. The Ecology Party and Nuclear Information Resource Service will challenge Progress Energy  in the Levy County courthouse on Oct. 31. The case will be heard  by three judges of the Atomic Safety Licensing Board of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.

Meanwhile, Progress Energy’s troubles continue over the shutdown of a nearby nuclear facility in Citrus County, where the cost of repairs there has reached nearly $1.5 billion.

Emily Miller edited this story online.


This entry was posted in Environment, Florida and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.
  • Think Twice 44

    They should not be building nuclear power plants because they are not safe, and they release radiation into the surrounding environment during their “normal” operations.
    Radiation can equal Cancer.
    If you want to know more about this important issue:
    www dot enenews dot com
    www dot enformable dot com
    RadChick on Facebook
    www dot nuclearcrimes dot org
    www dot nuclearhotseat dot com (excellent interviews)
    Watch youtube vidoes on Dr. Sternglass; Dr. Jay Gould; Karl Grossman, Dr. Caldicott on the dangers of nuclear radiation

  • RLM357

    This was another Sell-Out by Charlie Crist to obtain financial backing for hie run for the Senate. (We kicked him out!) He refused to reappoint nancy Arcenziano and two others who opposed this illegal prepayment to Progress Energy. They wanted the Quarry nes=xt to the proposed site to bury and rebury the spent fuel rods from Crystal River that they Failed to repair as directed. They also joined in the Obama promise to drive the Coal Fired Electrical providers, Out-Of-Business by Over Regulation. Now Prog. Energ. has sold to DUKE who failed to do “Due-Process” and now will suffer huge costs to cover the repairs at Crystal River (Built by Ker-Magee) another sub standard plant. Remember Karen Silkwood? I have requested a full Investigation of the entire passage of this Legislative fiasco but have recieved no answer to date. ~Rick Magee, FL

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Geoffrey-Mason/1360629233 Geoffrey Mason

    Here is the Nuclear Regulatory Commission’s PDF announcement of the information related to the Levy County plant and the hearing coming up Thursday morning October 31 at the Levy County Courthouse: http://www.nrc.gov/reading-rm/doc-collections/news/2012/12-110.pdf

  • Fiddler

    Levy County Nuclear Plant should NOT be allowed and is not needed with so many GREEN alternatives at hand

  • ladyredfl

    Levy County, FL STILL does not need the nuclear reactors. Yes, jobs are an important concern but the environment is MUCH MORE important! For instance, the wildlife preserve next to the proposed site will be affected. Habitats for animals- large and small, flying crawling and prowling- have been disturbed by this proposal. It’s simply the WORST place to site a nuclear power plant. I am praying that cooler heads will prevail and the construction is stopped.

 

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