South Carolina Releases Bechtel Report On V.C. Summer Project

A report released by the office of the governor of South Carolina on Wednesday described significant issues with the V.C. Summer nuclear plant expansion project that indicates that completion of the project was an uphill battle, even as of early in 2016, when the report was completed.

V.C. Summer SCANA and minority stakeholder Santee Cooper suspended work on the two AP1000 Westinghouse-designed reactors in Jenkinsville, S.C. in late July 2017, blaming the Westinghouse bankruptcy and escalating costs for the decision. The Bechtel assessment that was completed in February 2016, however, indicates that management of the project was critically flawed.

Early in the report, Bechtel spells out eight substantial issues hampering the project. These included the following:

  • The Consortium lacks the project management integration needed for a successful project outcome

  • There is a lack of a shared vision, goals and accountability between the owners and the Consortium

  • The Contract does not appear to be serving the Owners or the Consortium particularly well

  • The detailed engineering design is not yet completed which will subsequently affect the performance of procurement and construction.

  • The issued design is often not constructible resulting in significant number of changes and causing delays

  • The oversight approach taken by the Owners does not allow for real-time appropriate cost and schedule mitigation

  • The relationship between the Consortium partners Westinghouse Electric Company (WEC) and Chicago Bridge & Iron (CB&I) is strained, caused to a large extent by commercial issues

  • While the Consortium's engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) plans and schedules are integrated, the plans and schedules are not reflective of actual project circumstances.

The report goes on to note that WEC had recently announced a purchase offer for CB&I, which was cited as a move that “will resolve many of the Consortium-related commercial issues in the near term.” The move was also seen as offering a “valuable safety net for the Owners if the project cost continues to rise.”

However,” the assessment continues, “this new arrangement will not fully address the project challenges and EPC shortcomings that we have observed and documented.”

Bechtel recommended a number of changes to address each of their concerns. These recommendations included:


– Develop an Owners' Project Management Organization (PMO) and supplement current Owner staff with additional EPC-experienced personnel dedicated to the project that are empowered with the roles, responsibilities and accountabilities for making the needed project-related decisions to keep the project on track

  • The Owners should take and active role in determining the reasons for the relationship (for problems between WEC and CB&I) and develop an action plan including possible new contract terms

  • Develop some success.

    At this point, Bechtel was addressing a specific observation. “The overall morale on the project is low,” the report says.

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  • Anonymous
    Anonymous

    Been in the nuclear field for 40 years this observation should have been the end of these issues . Any other utility would have verified the issues and removed the problems . It all goes back to the management team and CEO s . There failure to correct these issues are insane when dealing with a project of this size and cost . Total failure of management at the cost of the rate payers . And it took how many years to complete unit one . Do some history management failure in all construction programs

  • Anonymous
    Anonymous

    Would  love to have seen the Risk Management and Mitigation Plans for this Project !

    W. Scott Barnes

  • Anonymous
    Anonymous

    Anonymous; I have been in the Nuclear Field for 40 years and worked at Vogtle 3 & 4 and V.C Summers 2 & 3, the issue all along has been the work was scheduled to meet money mile stones not performing the work in the required sequences to be successful, yes contractors need cash flow to keep operating. But not at the expense of having to perform rework because $$$$ drove the decisions.

  • Anonymous
    Anonymous

    Anonymous:  This should be viewed as an industry failure as well.  As important as the successful completion of this project and that of the Vogtle Units 3 and 4 project were/are to the future of the U.S. nuclear industry, the owners should have insisted on industry level (e.g., INPO or other utility) periodic involvement and oversight to point out issues of the type raised by Bechtel much earlier in the project history.  Absent such a request, the nuclear industry should have been more forceful in encouraging that kind of independent oversight.

  • Anonymous
    Anonymous

    There has been too much money invested in this project to haul construction. Nuclear power is the energy of the future, it is clean, safe and reliable. This station needs to be completed and many more stations constructed to allow for the phase out of fossil fuel plants that pollute our atmosphere with hydrocarbons and other particulates. I have been in the nuclear energy field for many years and the failure of this project can be placed squarely on the management of the site. The tradespeople want to work, they want to make progress but due to the management team and the constraints placed upon the tradespeople (fondly called nuclear hold), they were not allowed to do their jobs.

  • Anonymous
    Anonymous

    I wonder if Bechtel did a similar review of their own performance at Hanford? I wouldn't hire them to mow my lawn.

  • Anonymous
    Anonymous

    So it sounds alot like the project management is broken and Bechtel thinks that fixing the problem would require more project management.  Go figure!  I am seeing this all the time with project management...they undersell the projects for two reasons 1) they really do not know what they are doing or 2) they think that scope changes will make up for the poorly developed schedules and estimates.