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Nuclear Power Plan in Florida

April 30, 2006|South Florida Sun-Sentinel

TALLAHASSEE — In an energy plan being debated in the Florida Legislature, Gov. Jeb Bush proposes removing barriers to the construction of nuclear power plants, partly by allowing utilities to pass some costs on to customers years before a plant goes into operation.

The thrust of the plan is to increase and diversify the state's sources of power, which Bush believes have become too dominated by natural gas. Delivered to the state through just two pipelines, natural gas prices have soared over the last few years.

"Florida is too dependent on fossil fuels for our energy," said Russell Schweiss, spokesman for the governor. "With the vulnerability we have to hurricanes, there's a lot of potential for the supply to be cut off."

Under current law, the cost of power plants may not be passed on to customers until a plant goes into operation. Bush's plan would make an exception for nuclear power, allowing some costs to go to customers while a plant is under construction, said Todd Brown, spokesman for the Florida Public Service Commission.

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