The fate of two nuclear under construction at the V.C. Summer Nuclear Generating Station near Jenkinsville in Fairfield County could hinge on whether the companies building them will be able to get federal tax credits for the pr oject.
According to The State newspaper, South Carolina Electric and Gas (SCE&G) would save more than $2 billion from the credits and is planning to use them to help repay the project costs, which are close to spiraling out of the utility’s reach.
But those federal tax credits require the plants be in service by April 2021. Chief Operating Officer Stephen Byrne has said the margin for error will be short for the second reactor to meet that deadline.
The newspaper reports that an effort to extend the deadline has hit a brick wall and it’s not certain that Congress would act on the tax credits before the company takes action on the future construction of the reactors.
The tax credit would make it easier for the company to finance the project. The construction is in trouble because the main contractor building the reactors Westinghouse, is in bankruptcy.
SCE&G and state-owned power utility Santee Cooper entered a fixed-cost agreement which requires the project’s contractors cover the losses if the costs go above $13.9 billion. It has now gone over that threshold and Westinghouse’s parent company Toshiba admitted the corporation has lost $1.2 billion on V.C. Summer and another reactor under construction in Georgia.
The utilities have until June 26 to finish an appraisal that will determine whether continuing construction of the reactors is a viable plan.
The project’s future would also impact SCE&G customers since they have already paid about $1.4 billion for construction.