Florida Power & Light (FPL) says it could delay by as many as four years any further progress toward constructing the proposed expansion of its Turkey Point Nuclear Generating Station in Florida City. Instead, in a petition submitted in April to the Florida Public Service Commission, the utility stated that it currently plans “to only incur costs associated with obtaining and then maintaining its license, permits and certifications during the period 2017 to 2020.” As a result, FPL argued that it should not be required to submit another feasibility study for the project, as is usually required.

In its petition to the state requesting a waiver of the feasibility review, the utility argues that the statute indicates this step is required only when seeking commission approval to begin preconstruction. The state previously approved, in 2008, a determination of need for the project.

Utility spokesman Peter Robbins blamed the pause partly on delays generated by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, which recently added a year to the expected timeline for approval of a construction and operating license for the new plants, he claims. FPL now expects license approval by late 2017, he says.

In 2014, FPL estimated the cost of the project at as much as $18 billion but, a year later, raised that total to $20 billion.

Asked by ENR about delays and cost overruns incurred by ongoing nuclear expansion projects in Georgia and South Carolina, Robbins said, “We’re watching the new nuclear construction. We feel that there will be better ability to come up with a schedule and to take lessons learned based on those projects.”

Robbins reiterated FPL’s commitment to nuclear power, calling it an “important part of our portfolio.”