FPL wants to keep licensing process for nuclear reactors that may never be built

Customers have been paying for process for years

MIAMI-DADE COUNTY, Fla. – Florida Power & Light is asking Florida's Public Service Commission for permission to continue its quest to license two new nuclear reactors at Turkey Point Nuclear Power Plant, a process that has cost customers $280 million over the last decade with no confirmation they will ever be built.

"This project is effectively dead," a representative of the Southern Alliance for Clean Energy said at the PSC hearing in Tallahassee Tuesday.

At the hearing, a coalition of groups argued that building the two new reactors numbers is becoming less feasible for several reasons, including the bankruptcy of a potential contractor during work on failing nuclear projects in Georgia and South Carolina.

For just the licensing process so far, FP&L has charged customers $280 million.

"We should not be paying for a service we will likely not be getting in the future," said Claudia Tenzer, a spokesperson for the Southern Alliance for Clean Energy. "We shouldn't be expanding nuclear reactors, especially in this (Turkey Point) location."

After this week's hearing, the PSC will decide whether FP&L may continue with the licensing process and defer the cost recovery to customers' future bills.

A utility company spokesperson defended the request, saying nuclear expansion is an important energy option to have, though admitting Turkey Point reactors called Number 6 and Number 7 may never be built.

"We will get licenses and approvals first, before deciding whether to go on," FP&L's Peter Robbins said.

Robbins said FP&L is watching the building process of new reactors in Georgia and South Carolina, hoping to learn from the delays and difficulties.

About the Author:

Glenna Milberg joined Local 10 News in September 1999 to report on South Florida's top stories and community issues. She also serves as co-host on Local 10's public affairs broadcast, "This Week in South Florida."