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Front Page » Top Stories » Economics shelves FPL nuclear units at Turkey Point

Economics shelves FPL nuclear units at Turkey Point

Written by on March 13, 2018
Economics shelves FPL nuclear units at Turkey Point

Nuclear units Florida Power & Light was to build at Turkey Point have been delayed indefinitely as it’s too expensive to compete with natural gas, FPL says.

In 2010, the county agreed with FPL to build two new nuclear units at Turkey Point and treat 90 million gallons daily of reclaimed water to cool them.

But “conditions have changed, and the units will not be constructed in the foreseeable future,” Mayor Carlos Giménez said in a memo to commissioners. At the Chairman’s Policy Council last week, he said FPL is opting to extend the life of its existing nuclear units, holding off construction. He said the existing Turkey Point units are maintained in “like new” condition and it isn’t smart to move forward with the new nuclear plants now.

“The economics don’t support us moving forward with the new units in the foreseeable future,” said Steven Scroggs, FPL senior director.

Mr. Scroggs said it is “good news” as FPL can now focus on the new agreement with the county to reclaim 60 million gallons of wastewater to relieve pressure on the aquifers.

The price of natural gas has dropped drastically since the units were planned, Mr. Scroggs said, and expensive new reactors can’t compete. Previously, “hurricanes drove up the natural gas prices to $10 per million MMBtu, whereas now that price is about $2.50, or 25% less than the other fuel,” he said. One million Btu is about 1,000 cubic feet of natural gas. The existing reactors have been paid for so it is a low-cost alternative to extend their lifespan, he said.

Mr. Giménez said delaying the nuclear plants indefinitely will save ratepayers money. “You’re talking about billions of billions of dollars that we will avoid,” he said.

FPL says it isn’t yet giving up on the new units, but Mr. Giménez said “FPL is going to try to move on these two units, but I’m not sure they’re ever going to get built.”

4 Responses to Economics shelves FPL nuclear units at Turkey Point

  1. VTArnie

    March 14, 2018 at 8:49 am

    Bradford, Cooper and Gundersen all testified to the Florida PSC about excessive costs and an impossible schedule in 2009 and 2010. Ivan Penn and the Tampa Bay Times covered the cozy relationships between FPL and Regulators that allowed this train wreck to happen. Now a decade later after spending $1+B, FPL reaches the same conclusion. That these AP1000’s should never be built was obvious a decade ago.

    • William

      March 14, 2018 at 11:18 am

      The Fl PSC does not serve the interests of Fl residents. I also agree that the Billion dollars invested in the plant was a waste and FPL should be paying us back.

  2. Miner49er

    March 14, 2018 at 10:51 am

    Climate change is a false premise for regulating or taxing carbon dioxide emissions. Political leaders who advocate unwarranted taxes and regulations on fossil fuels will be seen as fools or knaves. Nature converts CO2 to limestone. Climate change may or may not be occurring, but is NOT caused by human fossil fuels use. Temperature changes cause changes in ambient CO2.

    There is no empirical evidence that fossil fuels use affects climate. Likely and well-documented causes include sunspot cycles, earth/sun orbital changes, cosmic ray effects on clouds and tectonic plate activity. The further point here is that earth naturally recycles all carbon dioxide.

    Fossil fuels emit only 3% of total CO2 emissions. 95% comes from rotting vegetation and other sources. All the ambient CO2 in the atmosphere is promptly converted in the oceans to calcite (limestone) and other carbonates, mostly through biological paths. CO2 + CaO => CaCO3 (exothermic). The conversion rate increases with increasing CO2 partial pressure. A dynamic equilibrium-seeking mechanism.

    99.84% of all carbon on earth is already sequestered as sediments in earth’s crust. The lithosphere is a massive hungry carbon sink that converts ambient CO2 to carbonate almost as soon as it is emitted.

    The Paris Treaty is now estimated to cost up to to $100 trillion — $13,333 per human being. Nearly two-thirds of humanity’s cumulative savings over history. And will not affect climate at all.

    A modern coal power plant emits few air effluents except water vapor and carbon dioxide. Coal remains the lowest cost and most reliable source of electric energy, along with natural gas. Coal has always competed effectively with natural gas.

    Coal & gas dominate electric energy generation because they are cheap. And coal remains the cheapest energy source. Illinois Basin coal now costs less than 1/3 the equivalent cost of natural gas at their respective sources. Less than $1.00/MMBTU. Coal is more competitive with gas today than it was twenty years ago.

    Carbon capture always has been a wallet-on-a-string-trick, pushed by crony capitalists. And Southern Company was dumb enough to bend over to pick it up. Nuclear & big hydro are in also death spirals–both driven by excessive regulation.

    Wind & solar won’t make it, even supported by subsidies, mandates, and penalties on fossil fuels. When subsidies & mandates end, renewables will die. Investment in all these businesses will be lost, and lead to a new financial crisis.

    Renewables happy talk foretells a bubble. Without the CO2-driven global-warming boogeyman, wind and solar power will be relegated to the niches they deserve. So-called renewable energy will be the nexus of the next great financial panic. Get out while you can!

  3. Rod Adams

    March 15, 2018 at 6:56 am

    Miner49 – setting aside our differing understanding of CO2 cycle, it’s worth noting that coal has never been a cheap fuel for southeast Florida.

    Its cost in that area is dominated by transportation charges.

    For a time, heavy oil from Venezuela was the fuel of choice since it was easy to move via ship from deposits located close to port facilities.

    That changed in 1973.