Duke Energy Corporation said Friday it would seek permission to cancel the Lee Nuclear project slated for Gaffney, South Carolina, noting that it would ask regulators for permission to recover at least $368 million from ratepayers that were incurred as pre-construction costs.
On the heels of the cancellation of the two-reactor expansion project at the V.C. Summer Nuclear plant in Jeninsville, S.C., Duke said that “nuclear energy is also a vital component of Duke Energy's generation portfolio now and in the future.” However, it said it would seek approval from the North Carolina Utility Commission for permission to cancel the project that was to include two Westinghouse AP1000 reactors and was expected to serve customers in both North and South Carolina. Duke said the cancellation was “due to the recent bankruptcy of Westinghouse Electric Company, a subsidiary of Toshiba Corporation, and other market activity.”
“Most notably, risks and uncertainties to initiating construction on the Lee Nuclear project have become too great and cancellation of the project is the best option for customers. Duke Energy will maintain the license to build new nuclear at this site in the future if it is in the best interest of customers,” the company said.
In contrast, Duke said that its recent investments included improvements on “highly efficient natural gas power plant (Anderson County, S.C.) that continues to reduce carbon emissions” and “two new solar sites (Monroe and Mocksville, N.C.) that provide 75 megawatts of emissions-free energy to Carolinas homes and businesses.”
Duke has said that it has already spent $542 million on the so-called William States Lee III Nuclear Generating Station, most of that on regulatory licensing and engineering, but also on purchasing the site where the plant would have been built.
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