April 17, 2012 / 3:10 PM / in 6 years

UPDATE 1-AEP files plan to upgrade Michigan's Cook nuke

April 17 (Reuters) - American Electric Power Co’s Indiana and Michigan electric utility said Tuesday it filed a $1.17 billion plan with Indiana utility regulators to extend the operation of the 2,069-megawatt Cook nuclear power plant in Michigan.

In its filing, the Indiana and Michigan utility told regulators there is a viable need for the project and asked them to allow for timely recovery of interest charges associated with financing the work.

That recovery will boost customer bills. AEP said the typical residential customer could see an increase of $1.52 per month.

The Cook plant, located in Bridgman, Michigan, about 80 miles (128 km) east of Chicago, generates enough energy to power about 1.5 million homes.

The plant accounts for 40 percent of Indiana and Michigan’s power generation portfolio.

The federal operating license for Cook unit 1 was issued in 1974, with the license for Cook unit 2 issued in 1977. The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) extended the original 40-year operating licenses in 2005 for another 20 years until 2034 and 2037.

The upgrade project is scheduled to span six years with the majority of work to be performed during regularly scheduled refueling outages.

Indiana and Michigan proposed to recover interest costs associated with project through a rider that will be reflected as a line item on Indiana billing statements beginning in 2013.

The utility said the recovery makes it possible to phase in the costs over the time of the project, as opposed to a large, one-time hit on customer bills after the project is completed.

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