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Progress Energy pushed back the scheduled completion of planned new nuclear reactors in Florida and North Carolina until after 2020, CEO William Johnson was quoted by Bloomberg as saying.

àƒ¢à‚€à‚Å“The timetable for those plants has slipped,àƒ¢à‚€à‚ Johnson said. àƒ¢à‚€à‚Å“Theyàƒ¢à‚€à‚â„¢re now 2020 or later.àƒ¢à‚€à‚

Progress, based in Raleigh, N.C., remains àƒ¢à‚€à‚Å“committed to nuclear expansionàƒ¢à‚€à‚ and may buy stakes in other reactor projects, said Johnson, whose company agreed last month to be bought by Duke Energy Corp.

The companyàƒ¢à‚€à‚â„¢s own reactor construction plans will be àƒ¢à‚€à‚Å“much more feasibleàƒ¢à‚€à‚ after the merger because of the combined companiesàƒ¢à‚€à‚â„¢ àƒ¢à‚€à‚Å“much bigger balance sheet,àƒ¢à‚€à‚ he said. The cost of building a two-reactor nuclear plant is about $13 billion, Johnson said.

Progress had àƒ¢à‚€à‚Å“casual conversationsàƒ¢à‚€à‚ with Scana Corp. and state-owned utility Santee Cooper about taking a stake in the reactor project near Jenkinsville, S.C., Johnson said. Talks will get àƒ¢à‚€à‚Å“more realisticàƒ¢à‚€à‚ when the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission grants a construction and operating license for the plant.

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