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Duke Prepares Nuclear Reactor Application

October 27, 2005|From Bloomberg News

Duke Energy Corp., one of the largest U.S. utility owners, said Wednesday that it was preparing a license application to build two nuclear reactors at a total cost of as much as $6 billion.

The pair of 1,100-megawatt reactors would begin service in 2015, said Rita Sipe, a spokeswoman for the Charlotte, N.C.-based company. Duke won't decide whether to build the plants until the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission acts on the application, probably by 2010, she said.

"We need to see what our customer needs will be at that time," she said. Power plants using other fuels, such as coal or natural gas, also would be considered, Sipe said.

About a dozen utility owners, including Entergy Corp. and Constellation Energy Group Inc., are considering constructing the first nuclear power plants in decades amid record prices for natural gas, a competing power-plant fuel. Gas futures soared 74% this year to $9.731 per million British thermal units in the third quarter.

Duke will select from 14 potential sites by the end of the year, Sipe said.

Shares of Duke fell 22 cents to $26.12.

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