Federal regulators have approved a plan to build two nuclear reactors in South Carolina– the first new reactors in over 25 years. South Carolina Electric & Gas had requested approval for the reactors at its V.C. Summer Facility in Jenkinsville, about 25 miles outside of Columbia.
The 4-1 vote by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission to approve a Combined Construction and Operating License (COL)means SCE&G and its holding company SCANA can now finish construction at the site. Work has already been underway since 2009, but crews have not yet begun building the actual reactors.
“It’s been a long, long process,” said SCANA CEO Kevin Marsh.
The COLs are meant to streamline the process, with a utility only needing one permit, rather than separate ones to build and operate the reactor– as was previously the case before the late 2000s.
Officials say the first reactor at Summer will go online in March 2017 and both should be running by 2019.
It is only the second time the NRC has approved a nuclear project in the past 30 years. Earlier this year, Atlanta-based Southern Company was allowed to build two reactors at Plant Vogtle near Augusta, Georgia. No nuclear reactor has gone online in South Carolina since Duke Energy installed a second reactor at Catawba Nuclear Station in 1986.
SCE&G will have a 55 percent ownership stake in the Summer facility, with state-owned utility Santee-Cooper owning the remaining 45 percent. However, Santee-Cooper has been in negotiations with smaller companies to purchase a portion of their share.