Progress Energy Florida Contracts for Two New AP1000 Reactors; Will Retire Two Coal-Fired Units
06 January 2009
Progress Energy Florida (PEF) has contracted with Westinghouse Electric Company LLC and The Shaw Group Inc.’s Power Group for the engineering, procurement and construction of two nuclear units for a proposed nuclear power plant in Levy County, Fla.
Progress will retire the two oldest coal-fired units at its Crystal River Energy Complex in Citrus County after the new, advanced-design nuclear units are built in Levy County. Doing so will reduce the company’s carbon dioxide emissions by more than 5 million tons per year—the equivalent of removing more than 830,000 vehicles from Florida’s roads or meeting nearly 60% of the company’s responsibility toward achieving Florida Governor Charlie Crist’s 2025 emission-reduction target.
The contract provides equipment, engineering and construction services for two 1,105-net megawatt (MWe) Westinghouse AP1000 reactors. (Earlier post.) The next significant steps in the project are to finalize joint ownership agreements and to receive the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) schedule for review and approval of the company’s combined license application (COLA). Current plans would be for the units to be operational in the 2016 to 2018 time frame.
The cost of the two new nuclear units is based on a contract price of $7.65 billion, plus forecasted inflation, owner costs and contingencies. The company estimates the total cost for the two generating units to be approximately $14 billion. This estimate includes land price, plant components, financing costs, construction, labor, regulatory fees and reactor fuel for two units. An additional $3 billion is estimated for the necessary transmission equipment and about 200 miles of transmission lines associated with the project. The final cost of the project will depend on the completion dates, which will be determined in large part by the NRC review schedule.
Progress Energy Florida purchased about 5,100 acres in southern Levy County for the potential construction of two nuclear reactors and other related facilities. If approved and built, the project will be among the first nuclear plants in the country to be constructed on a new site in more than 30 years, and it will involve development of one of the single largest transmission infrastructure projects in Florida’s history.
Progress is also pursuing energy efficiency, investing in renewable-energy resources and developing advanced transportation technologies, such as plug-in hybrid electric vehicles, to help reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
Florida is the fourth-largest state and ranks third nationally in per-capita energy consumption. Compared to 30 years ago, the average new home today is 50% larger and uses 30% more electricity. Since the Crystal River nuclear plant came online in the mid-1970s, the company’s customer base has more than doubled.
Progress Energy Florida, a subsidiary of Progress Energy, provides electricity and related services to about 1.7 million customers in Florida.
Back of the envelope, that works out to about $0.28 per KWh.
Where'd I get that number?
$14 bil for the project == $6334 per kW
The average price for financing this project works out to another $3114 per kW
Total construction: $9448/kW
Capital recovery factor: .1457 (40 years)
Average capacity: 80% (fairly generous)
Result: a hair under twenty cents per hour. That's to build it. It has to be operated. Recent estimates:
Op & Maint (w/o fuel) $0.01 / kWh
Property taxes $0.02 / kWh
Decommissioning and waste costs reserve $0.02 / kWh
Fuel cycle costs $0.03 / kWh
Total: $0.28 / kWh. That's some really expensive nuclear power. If they have cost overruns due to bad estimates, slow progress, weather problems, or the like, the cost goes up.
Most of the estimates come from Craig A. Severance's article found at
Posted by: stomv | 06 January 2009 at 02:49 PM
You made an oopsy The total cost is only about 14 billion and that includes EVERYTHING but the new transmission lines including all fuel and labor and everything and includes provisions for cost overruns. The contracted price of the plants themsevles is a total of just 7.65 billion so I think 14 billion is a generous estimate of final costs.
Also as with dams and other large power projects a state gets away with eating a certain amount of the costs involved because they get the money right back in local taxes. Thus the final rate for power is much reduced.
Posted by: wintermane2000 | 06 January 2009 at 03:40 PM
The article states, "Florida is the fourth largest state..."
This is absolutely false. Montana is the fourth largest state.
Florida is the fourth most populous.
Posted by: Patrick | 06 January 2009 at 04:48 PM
"Average capacity: 80% (fairly generous)"
Per Electrical Light & Power, Dec 2008, the average capacity factor for all US nuclear plants for 2007 was 90.26%. The highest plat was NRG South Texas with 99.83%.
Also, the AP-1000 is designed for a 60 year life, not a 40 year life.
Posted by: Mike Z | 06 January 2009 at 04:52 PM
If you figure $17 Billion financed at 7.5% (Which was Progress Energy's rate they paid for a bond they floated recently)
Figure 60 years, 95% Capacity (Which seem reasonable that a new reactor will be slightly above the average capacity of 90%) and you get a capital cost of 6.7 cents per KwH over 60 years.
Posted by: Mike Z | 06 January 2009 at 05:15 PM
We have to get over the obsession with increasing energy supply and focus on efficient use of renewable sources of energy. $17 billion for the total project for 1.7 million customers is $10,000/customer. Solar water heat, heat recovery ventilation, insulation, gray water heat recovery, efficient appliances and lighting are more cost effective, safer and socially responsible.
Posted by: glenn | 06 January 2009 at 05:19 PM
The plant is in Florida! Sorry, couldn't resist!
Florida ranks forty-fifth in total energy consumption per capita, despite the heavy reliance on air conditioners and pool pumps. Overall Florida is rather energy efficient. I live here and solar and gas water heaters have rather high penetration already.
FYI, Progress Energy actually offers rebate to install a solar water heater: http://www.progress-energy.com/custservice/flares/save/solarheater.asp
Posted by: Mike Z | 06 January 2009 at 05:35 PM
Bingo! Hit the nail on the head!
FWIW I think Mike Z has the numbers right. Still, we are all discounting the gross subsidy provided by Price-Anderson and then the cost of storage/disposal.
Posted by: GreenPlease | 06 January 2009 at 06:07 PM
Stanford Institute for Economic Policy Research (http://siepr.stanford.edu/papers/briefs/policybrief_jan02.pdf) puts the subsidy at $22 million per reactor per year or about $0.003 per KwH.
Of course the true 'subsidy value' of the Price-Anderson act is driven by the estimated cost of private insurance. Of course, that cost is driven by risk. If you are an anti-nuclear group you think nuclear plants are accidents waiting to happen and therefore the price you estimate to insure them is very high. (Therefore Price-Anderson is a massive subsidy) If you are pro-nuclear, then you think that plants are very safe and therefore the cost to insure them is very low. (Therefore Price-Anderson is really a minimal subsidy, if one at all)
Posted by: Mike Z | 06 January 2009 at 06:32 PM
Looks like Floridians pay about $0.12 per kWh now.
Posted by: ToppaTom | 06 January 2009 at 09:18 PM
Heat recovery ventilation is actually very useful and relatively popular in hot climates because it is used to "recover" the heat in the incoming air to heat the outgoing air, thus supplying cooler air to the house. It also dehumidifies the incoming air as it cools it. The name, HRV, is misleading.
We passed a nuclear initiative in MT in the 70's before 3 mile island and Chernobyl which required, among other provisions, waving Price-Anderson liability limitations.
Posted by: glenn | 07 January 2009 at 05:41 AM
Hello, fossil CO2 emission offsets, remember? The days of cheap dirty energy are nearly over. Getting rid of global warming is going to cost us some money. Get used to it.
Posted by: richard schumacher | 07 January 2009 at 06:52 AM
Is Florida planning to change it's slogan to "the Nuke State?" Large scale solar projects being built in California by Stirling estimate $.06 per kwh. Even if you tripled that cost for Florida, it beats nukes.
Posted by: creativforce | 07 January 2009 at 07:27 AM
Unfortunately even in the most favorable location (e.g. the SW US) one must triple that Solar power cost estimate merely to account for the average daily and annual availability of Sunlight. In Florida, with more cloud cover, the availability factor is 4x to 5x. Now that nice clean Solar power costs at least $0.24 per kW-hr simply for production without the additional cost of energy storage.
Posted by: richard schumacher | 07 January 2009 at 08:48 AM
From what I read, Florida is much better positioned for PV than Solar Thermal. AFAIK, Solar thermal requires bright, consistent sunshine. Florida, being subtropical, often thunderstorms that interrupt the sunshine.
Also, while I'm no expert on the matter, I wonder what effect high humidity would have on the efficiency of concentrating heat into long heat pipes.
Posted by: Mike Z | 07 January 2009 at 11:18 AM
Haven't you heard water vapour in the atmosphere is a green house gas more potent than CO2.
Posted by: Mannstein | 07 January 2009 at 05:26 PM
The real cost of the California Solar Plant they quote is Infinite. The Green loons of California have now successfully(?), fought two initiatives to prevent transmission lines from the Plant to the cities where the Power would be used. So the Solar plant sits in the Desert with no where and no way, to send its expensive power to market.
Way to go California ASSes !?!
Posted by: Stan Peterson | 07 January 2009 at 06:07 PM
These two reactors represent the 9th and 10th accepted applications for COLs. The Nuclear Renaissance momentum continues to build, currently standing at 34 plants in the Pipeline.
I laugh at the cost projections by casual Green opponents. Unlike the companies and their Public Commission managements who are betting their own money, very careers, and Billions of dollars. Nuclear power in the '60s was cheaper than alternatives including Coal. It is cheaper now. The proof is the interested parties are investing billions of dollars. Its done by hard headed businessmen and their regulators. Not green back of envelope computations.
Mr. Bush has both cajoled and forced the nuclear companies to invest billions to redesign, upgrade, and and perfect their reactors and make them measureably Safer and Passive. The opposition to business as usual, by genuine critics, such as myself and my colleagues, did that. Mindless chanting opposition to throw the baby out with the bath water, accomplished nothing. And the result was frequently worse. Florida Progress was forced to run those polluting pigs for 30-40 more years; and Florida regulators were forced to let them do so. There were simply no alternatives.
I note that two of the oldest Coal plants wil be retired. These ancient smokers probably were grand-fathered by the Carter Administration airheads. They probably have no emissions controls whatever. If you remember that Carter do-gooders said if you "substantially" upgrade/maintain an old plant, then you need to add all "ther best of the state of the art" emissions controls. A 10 million dollar maintenance project became a half a billion dollar project. No one in their right mind did that for an antique Plant. The predictable results is that these "old Smokers" never had any "substantial" upgrades; so no emissions controls were put in. Floridians breathed the pollution.
Good Riddence, shut them down as soon as possible, when the new nuclear generators are completed. Besides we need clean power to recharge our fleets of coming electric cars, to be flooding from auto factories by 2016.
Posted by: Stan Peterson | 07 January 2009 at 06:53 PM
Stan- well said.
glenn- conservation alone will do nothing to advance anything. I'm going to assume that you are someone interested in plug-in hybrids... in order to electrify the transportation industry it will require new generation capacity.
I applaud Bush (I don't do it often) for reopening the Nuclear industry. 0 deaths have occured on US soil due to Nuclear power.
Posted by: Bryan | 08 January 2009 at 06:37 AM
When me and some friends were talking conservation I pointed out the rather obvious reason conservation doesnt work.
Real people conserve so they can use more fun stuff wich then uses even more power.
aka computers super duper consoles 2000 inch big screen tvs saunas hottubs...
Alot of the realy nifty things we DEMAND to be able to use use alot more power then things did even 10 years ago. So we demand more power.
Posted by: wintermane2000 | 09 January 2009 at 05:12 PM
I don't want to conserve anything. I should have the right to use as much energy as I can pay for (provided there is a supplier who is willing to sell it to me).
Posted by: ejj | 09 January 2009 at 09:37 PM