Duke Suspends New Nuclear Plans on Slowing Power Growth

A day before its Q1 earnings report, Duke Energy (NYSE: DUK  ) announced today that it will suspend any plans to apply for new nuclear units on its North Carolina Harris site.

The construction and operating applications were originally submitted by Progress Energy in 2008, and fell under Duke's domain after a July 2012 merger between the two utilities.

Although Duke Energy President Dhiaa Jamil noted in a statement that the site is "well suited for new nuclear generation and has not been eliminated from our long-term consideration," slower power growth has put any new construction plans on the back burner. According to Jamil, "Our most recent forecast indicates two additional nuclear units at Harris will not be needed in the next 15 years."

Instead, the company will continue to focus on its $9 billion fleet modernization efforts, which brought three power plants (two natural gas combined-cycle and one "clean coal ") online in 2012, and should add another combined-cycle facility later this year.

While its Harris site application is officially suspended, the utility will push ahead with applications for new nuclear generation at two additional sites, one in South Carolina and the other in Florida.


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