SCE&G May Scrap Multi-Billion Dollar Nuclear Project

That may mean billions toward a project that will never be completed.

Columbia, SC (WLTX) - One of two nuclear reactors that is supposed to be powering a majority of SCE&G's power needs is only 30 percent complete and now Westinghouse, a major partner in finishing it, has filed for bankruptcy, which may lead to SCE&G scraping the whole thing, wasting billions.
"Our preferred option is to complete these plants. These plans are necessary for the long term clean energy needs of South Carolina," Chairman and CEO of SCANA Kevin Marsh said.

But it's not the only option. At a briefing between SCANA, SCE&G and the Public Service Commission, top executives said they may scrap the project all together in the wake of its main partner Westinghouse declaring bankruptcy. Marsh even said they still haven't received an updated schedule from Westinghouse.

"We were expecting to get an updated schedule from them at the end of 2016. Because of their financial stress and the struggles they've been through recently, they did not complete that schedule, so at this point we are going to undertake completing our own schedule, which is also part of this interim assessment we'll be doing over the next 30 to 90 days," he said.

The two reactors are being built at VC Summer in Jenkinsville and are supposed to be a main sour of power for customers throughout the state. The first reactor was supposed to be running for over a year now, but is only 30 percent finished. Its completion date is now set for the end of 2020.

"Anybody could have seen this coming," Bob Guild said.

Guild is the conservation chair and the attorney for the Sierra Club, a local conservationist group.

"Nuclear as we've been pointing out is dirty, dangerous and now we completely confirm expensive," he said.

The ordinal price tag is about $6 billion and so far they've spent about $4.4 billion.

"The only things that we don't hear is how much suffering rate payers are supposed to absurd," Guild said.

Not one Public Service Commissioner asked how this may affect costumers, so News 19 asked Marsh.

"There will be no impact to customers. We're taking a 30 to 90 day period to evaluate that estimate cost to complete," Marsh told us.

But that’s contingent on whether Westinghouse is able to hold up their end up the deal in the midst of bankruptcy. Currently, SCE&G and other partners are funding Westinghouse weekly to pay for work done by other subcontractors and the internal costs of supporting the project. "Westinghouse just went bankrupt. Why on earth would you bank on them upholding their end of the deal," Guild said.

Meanwhile, Governor McMaster said he is keeping an eye on the situation.
Eighteen percent of the average SCE&G customer's bill goes to financing this project.

© 2017 WLTX-TV


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