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PSC approves Duke nuke fees

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In a pro forma move, the Public Service Commission Tuesday OK’d Duke Energy Florida‘s plan to charge customers for its nuclear energy costs.

The commission unanimously approved the roughly $52 million in recovery in a five-minute hearing on the request for next year.

The utility will use the money to defray costs from shutting down its Crystal River nuclear plant in Citrus County.

The approval comes after last year’s request from Florida Power & Light to charge its customers $34 million in nuclear power plant projects for 2016.

Public utilities can charge their customers in advance of building nuclear power plants thanks to a state law passed in 1996, but nuclear cost recovery remains controversial in Florida.

The Florida Legislature passed the Nuclear Cost Recovery Clause in 2006 almost unanimously to encourage construction of new nuclear plants and upgrades to older nuclear facilities.

Customers with Progress Energy, which was acquired by Duke, paid nearly $500 million for upgrades to the Crystal River nuclear power station, a plant that was permanently shut down in 2013 because of damage involving cracks to a containment building. correspondent Mitch Perry contributed to this report. 

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