FPL’s request for nuclear energy costs gets OK

The Florida Public Service Commission Monday approved $151 million in advance nuclear costs for Florida Power & Light Co., the total amount the utility requested.

The unanimous vote means that a customer who uses 1,000 kilowatt hours a month will be charged $1.69 a month for the advance costs beginning in January, the PSC said. This year that customer is paying $2.20 a month.

The commission also approved $142 million in nuclear costs for St. Petersburg-based Progress Energy Florida.

FPL’s breakdown for the costs includes $20 million for two proposed new reactors, Turkey Point 6 and 7, in South Miami-Dade.

Roughly $131 million is for expansions of two existing reactors at Turkey Point and two at the St. Lucie nuclear plant on Hutchinson Island.

The costs were approved despite objections from the Southern Alliance for Clean Energy, which has said that FPL has failed to demonstrate its intent to actually build the new Turkey Point reactors.

“The PSC accepted all of the PSC staff recommendations issued earlier this month — an unfortunate trend of rubber-stamping that we have seen year after year in spite of major obstacles and pitfalls that have made new reactor proposals in Florida less and less feasible,” SACE executive director Stephen Smith said in a statement Monday.

The group’s challenge of the constitutionality of a Florida law passed in 2006 that allows utilities to recover nuclear costs for expenses such as reactor design and licensing before construction is awaiting a decision by the Florida Supreme Court.