Duke Energy is another step closer to winning approval to build a new nuclear power plant in South Carolina. The Nuclear Regulatory Commission said Wednesday it has completed the final safety evaluation for the proposed William States Lee plant in Cherokee, near Gaffney.
The NRC says there are no safety issues that would prevent issuing licenses for the plant's two reactors.
Duke applied for the licenses in 2007. The NRC staff will hold a hearing later this year, followed by a vote on whether to issue the licenses.
The commission completed an environmental review and issued a final environmental impact statement in December 2013.
Duke Energy said Wednesday it will make a final decision whether to build the plant some time after commission approval. That decision "will be based on what is in the best interest of our customers and founded on the best information available," Duke spokeswoman Rita Sipe said.
"We continue to regard the Lee Nuclear Station as a viable option for future nuclear generation and understand the importance of fuel diversity in creating a clean, sustainable energy future," she said.
Duke operates six nuclear plants in the Carolinas, but hasn’t built a new since 1987. CEO Lynn Good said in January the company hoped to win approval for the South Carolina plant this year. It's also seeking approval for a new nuclear plant in Florida.
Duke-Energy.com fact sheet on the proposed Lee plant, https://www.duke-energy.com/pdfs/Lee-Nuclear-fact-sheet.pdf
Nuclear Regulatory Commission web page on the Lee plant, http://www.nrc.gov/reactors/new-reactors/col/lee.html