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Duke seeks to build new natural gas power plant in South Carolina

Oct 28 (Reuters) - U.S. power company Duke Energy Corp's Carolinas unit filed with South Carolina regulators for approval to build a 750-megawatt natural gas-fired combined-cycle power plant at its existing Lee power station.

Duke said in a release Friday it filed with regulators in partnership with North Carolina Electric Membership Corp, which will own 100 MW of the project if constructed.

One megawatt can power about 1,000 homes.

Duke said it has not made a final decision to build the new Lee plant but filed with regulators to keep the process moving forward if it later decides the company needs the plant.

Duke said the Lee natural gas project will create about 500 jobs at the height of construction.

If regulators approve of the project, Duke said it could enter service as soon as June 2017.

Separately, Duke is also pursuing the approval to build two of Westinghouse Electric's 1,117-MW nuclear reactors at the Lee site. Duke said in May it had already spent about $334 million to develop the Lee nuclear site.

The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission said on its website it could decide on Duke's application to build and operate the new reactors as soon as the end of 2015.

Like the natural gas plant, Duke has said it has not yet decided to build the new reactors.