Progress Energy plans two nuclear reactors in Fla.

Progress Energy has signed a $7.65 billion contract to build two nuclear reactors in Florida, a development that keeps the Raleigh, N.C.-based electric utility at the forefront of a push to build the nation's first new nuclear plants in more than two decades.

The contract with Westinghouse Electric and the Shaw Power Group, based in Charlotte, covers nuclear engineering, procurement and construction.

Progress' ongoing spending on nuclear plants in Florida and North Carolina, along with curtailed spending on power lines, will help the utility maintain its financial goals this year despite a recessionary slowdown in electricity sales. This month Progress raised residential rates by 25 percent in Florida, about $27.28 for a typical household bill, to recover nuclear, fuel and environmental costs.

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