Columbia, SC (WLTX) - SCE&G has withdrawn a request to abandon a project to build two new nuclear reactors at the V.C. Summer Nuclear Station, but that may not mean they have any intention of restarting the project.
The company sent a letter Tuesday to the Public Service Commission, a state regulating agency, saying they were backing off their decision to formally stop work on the multi-billion dollar project.
But the company said that doesn't mean they're looking at finishing the reactors.
"To be clear, our decision to withdraw the filing does not mean we are reconsidering the decision to cease construction of V.C. Summer Units 2 and 3," an SCE&G spokesperson said. "For reasons we’ve already outlined, including the impact of the Westinghouse bankruptcy on our fixed-price construction contract, the results of our evaluation of the cost and time to complete the project, and Santee Cooper’s decision to suspend construction, we still believe the most prudent decision is to abandon the project. That said, we understand the magnitude of this decision and the impact it has had on many people. So before moving forward with the regulatory process, we believe it would be appropriate to allow more time for our state’s governmental officials to fully review and understand how we arrived at our decision to file for abandonment."
Back on August 1, the announced they were ending their involvement with the multi-billion dollar project two build a second and third reactor in Fairfield County.
SCE&G has said they didn't want to end work on the project. But after Westinghouse (the contractor who was helping build the reactors) went bankrupt and Santee Cooper, SCE&G's partner in the project, didn't want to continue, they were left with no choice.
" I'm personally disappointed and sorry for the problems that this has caused for the employees at the plant," SCANA CEO Kevin Marsh told News19 Monday night. (SCANA is SCE&G's parent company) "We are working with them to help them transition to new jobs and I certainly hope they are successful."
Since then, lawmakers have called for a full investigation of the decision. Gov. Henry McMaster says he's looking at options to restart the project, including selling Santee Cooper or Santee Cooper's 45 percent stake in the project to another energy company.
SCE&G says in light of that decision, they don't feel they should move forward with the Public Service Commission on the withdrawal process, which was expected to take weeks or months to complete. The company now says they need to let the lawmakers conduct their processes without their discussions with the PSC continue.
Roughly 5,600 people lost their jobs when the abandonment of the project was announced.