Progress Energy plans to file for two combined construction and operating licenses for two dual-unit nuclear powerplants in Florida and the Carolinas and hopes to begin construction in 2010 with start up in 2015.

The Raleigh, N.C.-based utility on Nov. 1 notified the Nuclear Regulatory Commission of its plan to apply for a second combined license. It notified the NRC in August that it would apply for a combined construction and operating license for a plant in Florida.

The company plans to file both applications with the NRC in 2008. Progress did not specify the exact locations, but expects to announce both sites and a reactor vendor by the end of the year, say company officials.

The plants would be built to meet demand for base load generation needs in both of its service areas. Progress has not added new baseload generating plants since the mid-1980s, but its total number of customers has risen by a million, say company officials.

The company said the notice is not a commitment to build nuclear plants at either or both locations, and officials said Progress is investigating other powerplant options.

Progress will make a final decision on which generating options to build based on power market conditions, population projections in the area of the proposed plants, fuel prices, the regulatory environment and the ability to obtain financing, say company officials. "We will continue to work cooperatively with regulators, political leaders and other stakeholders in the states we serve to ensure we make the best long-term decisions to meet our customers’ future energy needs," says Bob McGehee, chairman and CEO.

Progress is a part owner and operator of the 1,838-MW Brunswick nuclear powerplant near Cape Fear, N.C., and the 900-MW Shearon Harris nuclear powerplant near Raleigh, N.C. It is the owner and operator of the 710-MW H.B. Robinson nuclear plant near Hartsville, S.C. Progress is part owner and operator of the 838-MW Crystal River nuclear powerplant near Crystal River, Fla.

Progress Energy is a member of NuStart Energy Development, a consortium of utilities and vendors that has selected two sites to pursue the development of new nuclear powerplants. Those sites are located at the Grand Gulf Nuclear Station in Port Gibson, Miss., which is owned by Entergy Corp., and the Bellefonte Nuclear Plant in Scottsboro, Ala., which is owned by the Tennessee Valley Authority.