Florida regulators deny FPL nuclear cost recovery for 2017
- State regulators yesterday denied a request by Florida Power & Light to defer cost recovery for work done this year on new generation at the Turkey Point nuclear plant, determining the utility had failed to submit a required financial analysis of the project.
- The Florida Public Service Commission last year allowed deferral of cost recovery, and allowed the utility to wait until this year to file the project feasibility analysis for 2017 — as required under the state's Nuclear Cost Recovery Clause rules.
- But the Palm Beach Post reports the utility did not file the report, forcing the PSC to unanimously determine it can not recovery millions it has spent on development of new generation this year.
FPL is still keeping its options open on two new reactors at Turkey Point: Units 6 and 7 would produce 2,200 MW but so far the utility is not sure the new generation will be developed. If it is, the new units could ultimately cost close to $20 billion and be ready for service in 2022 or 2023 if begun soon.
FPL deferred cost recovery last year, and was given a waiver on a plant feasibility study. But this time regulators balked. Despite the unanimous decision, the Palm Beach Post indicates it was not an easy decision for regulators.
“This is a hard issue. The whole country is watching the new fleet of nuclear deployments to be constructed around the country,” Commission Chairman Julie Brown said, according to the newspaper. “This particular issue is a big one for us.”
The Southern Alliance for Clean Energy, an opponent of the project, praised the commission for a "customer-friendly recommendation, at least for this year, to stop throwing good customer money after bad for a reactor project that is effectively dead."
The project and existing reactors have faced issued in recent years. According to the Post, FPL has indicated it wants to pause the project's development for up to five years, and believes federal regulators will issue a license for the reactors next year.
Earlier this year, the utility argued before the Florida Supreme Court that it should not be required to bury about 90 miles of transmission line associated with the new reactors. And last year, the utility was forced to fix a plume of salty water leaking from Turkey Point into Biscayne Bay.
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