Jenkinsville, SC (WLTX) - Construction for two new nuclear energy reactors is moving forward and leaders say the project should cost less for customers.
After delays and a need for more funding, SCANA and Santee Cooper leaders say the units are set to be completed and ready for use in a couple of years.
SCANA CEO and Chairman Kevin Marsh says the reactors will be a great benefit for customers.
“Whether it's people that live here today, businesses that operate here today or large industries that want to move to the state of South Carolina, they want to know we've got clean energy over the long term and these plants will provide that,” Marsh said. “They will operate for at least 60 years possibly 80 depending on the regulations that are in place at the time.”
Since 2008, they've run into speed bumps that put the project behind and the cost is $2.5 billion more than expected.
“We've still got work to do and we recognize that but we're very very satisfied with the effort to this point based on the relationship we have established with Fluor and Westinghouse,” SCE&G Chief Nuclear Officer Jeff Archie explained.
Archie says new partnerships helped push the project forward and will help reduce costs for customers.
He also says the project will have a great economic impact for the state.
“As we're constructing these plants, 3800 construction workers, 800 permanent jobs for units 2, 3 when they come online, plus all of the ongoing type activities that happen with nuclear,” Archie said.
The total price tag is around $14 billion.
Marsh says the project is getting tax credits from the government for about $2.2 billion which he says will offset construction costs.
To the opponents of the project, Marsh says this is the best option for long term clean and reliable energy for the state.
“We did an evaluation and over the long term we believe this is the cheapest, long term alternative to customers,” Marsh said.
These reactors are some of the first of their kind to be built in the country for more than 30 years.
Another price increase for customers could be on the way. A 3.1 percent rate increase is up for approval next month.
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