The Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) staff has completed its final Safety Evaluation Report for combined construction and operating licenses (COLs) for two Duke Energy (NYSE:DUK) proposed reactors at the Levy County site in Florida.
The report concludes there are no safety aspects that would preclude issuing the license for construction and operation of the proposed reactors at the site.
Even if Duke should get the licenses, it might not build new reactors anytime soon due to weak power demand and the high cost of building a new nuclear plant. The company will make a final decision on new nuclear generation in Florida in the future based on a variety of market and regulatory factors.
The staff will provide the report and Final Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) on the Levy County application to the NRC for the mandatory hearing phase of the licensing process.
In the mandatory hearing, expected to take place later this year, the NRC will examine whether the staff’s review supports the findings necessary to issue a license. Following the mandatory hearing, the commission will vote on whether to authorize the staff to issue the license.
Progress Energy Florida (now Duke Energy Florida) submitted its COL application for Levy County on July 30, 2008, for permission to build and operate two AP1000 nuclear reactors at the site.
The NRC certified the amended 1,100-MW AP1000 Westinghouse Electric design in 2012. More information on the certification process is available on the NRC website.
The two new nuclear units would be located less than 10 miles northeast of the Crystal River Energy Complex in neighboring Citrus County, Florida, where Duke retired the Crystal River 3 nuclear facility a few years ago.
The NRC’s Advisory Committee on Reactor Safeguards independently reviewed those aspects of the Levy County application that concern safety. The committee provided the results of its review to the Commission on Dec. 7, 2011, and provided the results of its review of several exemption requests on April 18, 2016. The NRC completed its environmental review and issued the final impact statement for the proposed Levy County reactors in April 2012.