So far, South Carolina Electric and Gas (SCE&G) customers have paid over $1.4 billion for two nuclear reactors under construction in Fairfield County. Those ratepayers may have to pay more, even if the project is abandoned by the contractor building the reactors due to financial struggles.
The State newspaper reports SCE&G customers may not get what they paid for if economic woes continue at the project’s contractor Westinghouse Electric. The company is building the reactor at the V.C. Summer Nuclear Generating Station, but its parent company has announced maasive writeups
Toshiba announced it would take a $6.3 billion loss because of Westinghouse’s nuclear operations. The company also announced it is getting get out of the nuclear construction business at some point in the future.
According to the newspaper, abandoning the project is a real possibility, mentioned just last month. If that does happen, then customers may not get their money back. They also could be charged more for the idle reactors for years.
Westinghouse Electric Co. has singled its intent to finish the job. SCANA, parent of SCE&G, said it expects that Westinghouse will stay involved untl the project is complete.
The reactors are planned to help SCANA and the State of South Carolina-owned Santee Cooper utility meet energy demands for the future. The new reactors which have been under construction for eight years would work with an existing reactor at the Summer nuclear station near Jenkinsville.
If Westinghouse pulls out of the project due to its financial situation and the construction of the reactors deserted, SCANA can ask the state Public Service Commission (PSC) to continue to pass on to its customers the costs it has acquired. South Carolina Office of Regulatory Staff said that the PSC can grant permission if SCANA proves that the decision to abandon construction was prudent.