NRC ruling: case against Progress Energy has merit

07/09/09 Mitch E. Perry
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A branch of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission ruled yesterday that the Florida Green Party will be allowed to challenge Progress Energy’s proposed $17 billion dollar nuclear power plant in Levy County.

Three groups -- the Green Party of Florida, the Ecology Party of Florida, and the Nuclear Information and Resource Service -- challenged Progress’s combined Operating License Application back in February.

The groups challenged Progress on 12 different issues.

No date has been set for a hearing yet.

The Atomic Licensing Board ruled on Wednesday that several issues raised by the Greens and the other groups had merit.

The Green Party’s Michael Canney says that the public power company Gainesville Regional Utilities rejected a request to work with Progress on its nuclear plant proposal. But he says that they and Alachua County refused to join with the Greens and others in contesting the application.

Although it will be years, if at all, before the proposed nuclear plant would come online, Progress customers are already paying for its construction, thanks to a 2006 state law. The law allows no recourse for refunds if the plant is never built. The rate that customers pay per 1,000 kilowatt hours is $4.31, a substantial reduction from the $12.00 they were paying before lawmakers pushed Progress to reduce the rate.

At the time, New Port Richey state Senator Mike Fasano said, “It really amazes me how shameless Progress Energy is. They have no consideration for the customer. None whatsoever. They can talk all they want about how they want to put the customers first. They have yet to put the customer first when it comes this issue.”

A spokesman for the Nuclear Regulatory Commission told the St. Petersburg Times today that Progress will have to amend their application to satisfy the 'shortcomings that have been found'.

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