May 2 Duke Energy, the largest U.S.
electric utility, said it notified regulators on Thursday that
it will drop plans to build two new nuclear reactors in North
Carolina due to slow growth in power demand.
Progress Energy, which Duke acquired last year, proposed
building two AP1000 reactors at the Harris nuclear plant site in
Wake County, North Carolina, and submitted an application in
2008 for a construction and operating license from the U.S.
Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC).
Duke officials are expected to discuss the Harris decision
Friday when Duke's first-quarter earnings are reported.
Dhiaa Jamil, president of Duke Energy Nuclear, said Duke
has sufficient generation to serve customers in North and South
Carolina for many years even as the company retires older
The company's supply forecast indicates additional nuclear
generation won't be needed at Harris for at least 15 years.
"The Harris site is well-suited for new nuclear generation
and has not been eliminated from our long-term consideration as
a site to expand our nuclear fleet," Jamil said in a release.
The once-predicted revival of U.S. nuclear construction has
been tempered by lower natural gas prices, anemic growth in
electric demand and the absence of limits on emissions of carbon
In February, Duke said its Progress Energy Florida utility
would retire, rather than repair, the heavily damaged Crystal
River reactor in Florida.
Duke said it will continue to work to obtain NRC licenses
for two new reactors at the Levy site in Levy County, Florida,
and another two reactors at the W.S. Lee site in Gaffney, South
Since Jan. 1, 2011, Duke said it has spent nearly $334
million on the Lee nuclear proposal, according to a filing with
Four new reactors are currently under construction at two
sites in the southeastern United States: two at Scana Corp's
Summer nuclear station in South Carolina and two at
Southern Co's Vogtle station in Georgia.
While a number of companies continue to pursue NRC approval
to develop new reactors, none has committed to actually build
another new reactor.
Last year, the NRC said it would not issue licenses for new
reactors until it satisfies a federal court order related to
nuclear waste rules, a delay expected to last at least two
A decision from the NRC on the Levy license application had
been expected this year while a timeline for the Lee application
was being revised, according to an NRC website.