The Westinghouse Electric Company bankruptcy filing has provoked concern over a “construction work in progress” (CWIP) in North Carolina, namely the Lee Nuclear Station that has been proposed by Duke Energy.
The North Carolina Utilities Commission (NCUC) has given Duke 60 days to respond to a raft of questions on the project for which Duke has already spent an estimated $531 million, according to a filing with state regulators in South Carolina.
Of that $531 million, Duke Energy Carolinas (DEC) estimates it has spent 70 percent or more than $370 million on the project in North Carolina, while spending 30 percent in South Carolina. As of 2011, Duke was authorized by NCUC to spend $120 million in North Carolina. The regulator now wants to know why the company has exceeded that limit and how it plans to recoup that money, the Charlotte Business Journal reported.
Most of the new questions arise from the concern over the bankruptcy filing and the financial situation at Toshiba, the parent company for Westinghouse. In connection to that, the NCUC also wants to know if Duke has permission from the Nuclear Regulatory Commission to choose another reactor design for the project, which is slated to involve the Westinghouse AP1000 design.
“Therefore, the Commission (NCUC) will require (Duke) to provide information concerning its assessment of the Toshiba financial situation and potential impact on the Lee Nuclear Station. Specifically, the Commission requests that DEC provide a report containing: its assessment of the Toshiba bankruptcy situation, including possible resolutions and likely timelines; a brief and general description of any contracts that (Duke) may have entered with Toshiba or Toshiba's affiliates to support the design and construction of the Lee Nuclear Station, including any termination clauses,” the NCUC's request reads.
The utility commission also wants an estimate on what delays might result from the Toshiba's financial situation and what new costs might be involved.
The last DEC cost estimate for the project made public was $11 billion, which it estimated in 2008. That has likely gone up. With interest, the Business Journal estimates that the cost of the Lee Nuclear Station is currently at $14 billion.
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What is the start date for construction