New Midlands Nuclear Power Plant Suffers Major Setback

We looked into this to see what this will mean for SCE&G taxpayers.

Columbia, SC (WLTX) - The nuclear reactor that was supposed to be powering thousands of homes for over a year, still hasn't been completed and faces another setback.

"It's a problem. I don't want to mischaracterize it and mislead people. It is a problem. I mean these things have not gone as it was intended to go," Dukes Scott said.

Scott is the Director of the state's Office of Regulatory Staff. The agency is responsible for monitoring construction of SCE&G's two AP1000 nuclear reactors in Jenkinsville.

"The budget has been increased and the schedule has been delayed," he said.

The first reactor was supposed to be done a year ago, but current completion is set for 2020.

On top of all of that, a major partner filed for bankruptcy.

"We have taken action to put Westinghouse on a path to resolve our AP1000 financial challenges while protecting our core businesses," Westinghouse President and CEO Jose Emeterio Gutierrez said.

In a statement Eric Boomhower, the Director of Public Affairs for SCE&G said, "SCE&G...signed an interim agreement to allow Westinghouse to continue working and for subcontractors and vendors to be paid on a going-forward basis."

"It's their job to determine where we go. It's our job to review where they say they go," Scott said.

SCE&G will have to decide whether to continue, pause or abandon one or both of the nuclear reactors.

"I think there's a real question now if it's going to be completed," Tom Clements said.

Clements is the Director of the Savannah River Site Watch group and has been a critic since plans for the project were revealed.

"The public service commission should conduct a hearing to examine all of the options," he said.

Since 2009 rate-payers have put up an additional $1.4 billion to continue the project.

"History does say that the rate-payers were going to absorb the cost. It's time that there be some push back from all of the electricity users in the SCE&G area, so we don't get saddled with all of those costs and that SCE&G picks up a lot of them," he said.

Because if they can't complete the projects, customers could face losing billions in a nuclear power plant that never was.

On Wedbesday we'll find out what  SCE&G will tell  the Public Service Commission about the  progress of construction of the nuclear units and Westinghouse's involvement.

© 2017 WLTX-TV


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