South Carolina Governor Considers Options For V.C. Summer

The sale of state-owned Santee Cooper is one of the options South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster is considering in an effort to revive the suspended two-reactor expansion project at the Virgil C. Summer nuclear power plant, media reports indicate.

VC SummerThe Wall Street Journal was first to report on the story picked up by multiple news outlets. Another option is for the state to retain ownership of Santee Cooper, but to sell the company's 45 percent stake in the expansion project. The company's chairman Leighton Lord responded to inquiries on the proposals, saying, “If the General Assembly and the governor think it's in the best interest of South Carolina, I'll support it,” referring to either a sale of the project or the company.

“In his mind, everything should be on the table,” said state Rep. Mike Fanning, who represents an area that includes the V.C. Summer power plant.

Santee Cooper's retreat from the expansion project prompted South Carolina Electric & Gas, the project's other owner, to also call a halt to construction. While hit with cost overruns and delays throughout the nine-year project, the final blow was the Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection filed by lead construction manager and reactor designerWestinghouse Electric Company in late March.

Consumers, who have been funding the construction through a 2007 South Carolina law that allows for power companies to attach construction costs to electric bills prior to a plant's commissioning, are among the stakeholders who lost out when companies announced last week they would cancel the project. As such, McMaster is said to be open to any option that puts the project back on track, even options that only funds completion of one of the two reactors that were said to be 66 percent completed as of May 2017.

McMaster is considering a call to the White House to seek federal assistance in finding a solution to the dilemma that ended approximately 6,000 construction jobs, including 600 SCE&G jobs. The state Senate is also confronting the issue, forming a committee to look into the decision to halt construction.

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  • Anonymous

    Very sad day . All driven by greed by the power company's and Westinghouse . Miss management on the largest scale ever . And the ones that made the mass are working away with pockets full of money.

  • Anonymous

    While all is not completely understood what has become apparent is the number used to justify abandonment.  That 21 Bil dollar price tag??  You see Kevin Marsh without any involved to assess the project used the largest sum available.  Basically he stated 9 Bil got us to 38% so scaled linearly it should cost 21 bil.  They hired experts to get what anyone with half a brain could do with a set of crayons.  Never taken into account 90% material is bought and paid for Design is 97% complete and that alone should save 600 senior engineers billing 50 hrs a week to the project.  Marsh made a decision.  As dirty as it was misleading the PSC it was a masterful business decision.  Sante only provided the motive or alibi.  See even he could see that 2.2 Bil guaranteed by Toshiba coupled with rate increases and future rate increases would make it more profitable in the short term to abandon.  All he needed to say was we wanted to complete the project and set back and pad his pockets.  The guy is a crook and he played the PSC like a puppet.