Nuclear Costs Continue to Rise

With a unanimous vote, state regulators approved adding 89 cents a month to Duke Energy customer bills. The charge will last seven years to cover the costs of mistakes made at the company’s crippled Crystal River 3 nuclear plant. The levy comes on top of other costs for the Levy Nuclear plant which the company said it won’t build.

“The 89 cents is added to the Crystal River charge of 2 dollars and 17 cents, it'll be an addition to the 3 dollars and 45 cents that customers are paying for Levy," said Sterling Ivey.

Duke says that it will continue to pursue, at its own expense, a license for a nuclear plant that it acknowledges may never be built.

“The economics of the Levy sight, right now just don't work,” said Ivey.

Despite Duke’s pull back, FPL says it is moving forward with plans to license two nuclear reactors. Regulators approved spending 45 million next year or about 48 cents a month to the average customer.

“And it continues to be... to show that it's cost effective investment for customers," said FPL Spokesperson Erik Hofmever.

What we now have as one utility using shareholder money to pay for the cost of the nuclear licenses and another utility getting rate payers to pick up that tab.

The Southern Alliance for Clean Energy says regulators are ignoring the economic reality.

"The cost of new nuclear power plants has gone through the roof while new renewable's cost have come down," said Susan Glickman with SACE.

If a plant's every built, it's at least a decade away.

FPL says building two new nuclear reactors will save customers 78 billion dollars in fuel charge over the plant's 40 year life.