~First nuclear units approved in Florida in 33 years~
TALLAHASSEE – Governor Charlie Crist, Attorney General Bill McCollum and Chief Financial Officer Alex Sink, serving as the Siting Board, today unanimously approved Progress Energy Florida’s site request for construction of a nuclear facility on a 3,105-acre location in Levy County. The Levy Nuclear Plant is the first nuclear facility approved in Florida since 1976.
“Today’s decision proves that Florida is on the right path toward achieving energy diversity and independence,” said Governor Crist. “I applaud Progress Energy Florida for its commitment to producing alternative energy options, creating jobs and protecting our environment for future generations.”
A need for the facility, which will consist of two 1,100 megawatt nuclear powered units, was determined by the Florida Public Service Commission last August. On December 18, 2008, Progress Energy announced it would discontinue coal use at its existing coal-fired units known as Crystal River 1 and 2 with Levy Nuclear Units 1 and 2. The Siting Board’s approval of the Levy Nuclear Plant includes a requirement for the coal-fired units to be discontinued by December 31, 2020, assuming timely licensing and construction.
“Today’s approval by the Siting Board is a significant step in the process to construct and operate the facility,” said DEP Secretary Michael W. Sole. “We are pleased that Florida companies are seeing the value of a clean and diverse energy future and are investing in energy technologies to help preserve and protect our state’s valuable natural resources.”
Federal approvals and permits required prior to construction include National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System, Prevention of Significant Deterioration (PSD), U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. Progress Energy has already received the PSD permit and all others are currently under review.
“This is an important milestone for the proposed Levy plant,” said Vincent M. Dolan, Progress Energy Florida’s president and chief executive officer. “Carbon-free nuclear power is a strategic asset in our statewide effort to become energy-independent, to reduce our reliance on more volatile-priced fossil fuels, and to provide a balanced approach to meet the challenges of growth and climate change.”
Prior to the Governor and Cabinet’s issuing site certifications, DEP’s Siting Office reviews applications for power plants, transmission lines, and natural gas pipelines as well as coordinates certification of those facilities. The Siting Office recently launched a redesigned Web site providing streamlined access to locate and monitor site certification applications in one simple location. For more information about DEP’s Siting Office or to view the redesigned Web site, visit www.dep.state.fl.us/siting.
Nuclear power plants produce electricity through a heat-generating process know as fission, in which neutrons split uranium atoms to produce large amount of energy. These facilities produce minimal carbon dioxide emissions, which contribute to climate change. In the United States, more than 100 nuclear reactors supply roughly 20 percent of the nation’s electricity. To learn more about nuclear power plants, visit http://www.nrc.gov/reactors/power.html.