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Levy plant spending nearly $1 billion

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By Pat Faherty

Special to the Chiefland Citizen

 

While the exact figure is a moving target, spending on the proposed Levy County nuclear plant is in the neighborhood of $1 billion.

According to a report by the Florida Public Service Commission Office of Auditing and Performance, Duke had spent approximately $962 million on the project through Dec. 31, 2012, though company figures are different.

“We have invested about $771 million in capital on the Levy project through June 2013,” said Duke Energy spokesperson Heather Danenhower. “In the first six months of this year, we have spent approximately $59 million — $46 million capital and $13 million carrying cost.”

The company now seeks to recover another $106 million for costs incurred or expected for the project this year.

The report “Review of Duke Energy Florida’s Project Management Internal Controls for Nuclear Plant Uprate and Construction Projects” has been an annual part of the PSC hearings on nuclear cost recovery for the past six years. The current version was released in June.

It also states the company authorized continued additional funding for the Levy project through 2015, though the actual amount remains confidential.

Overall it found there has been no change to the estimated project cost since April 2012. Last year, Duke increased its cost estimate to $18.1 billion — $24.1 billion including the cost of funds used during construction.

That compares to $13.9 billion when the planned two-reactor project started in 2008.

There has been no change in the estimated in-service dates of 2024 and 2025.

Among the issues covered by the review are fuel costs. While natural gas prices continue near historic lows, the long-term price forecast is higher, leading to an increase in the expected benefits of project completion.

Risks to the project from Duke’s point of view are potential legislative changes, licensing delays and the current state of nuclear development economics.

The PSC opens its formal hearing on nuclear cost recovery Aug. 5.
Contact reporter Pat Faherty at 352-564-2924 or pfaherty@chronicleonline.com.