The U.S. Attorney’s Office has subpoenaed documents from SCANA Corp. and Santee Cooper over the failed $9 billion expansion of the V.C. Summer Nuclear Generating Station, according to multiple reports.
The Post and Courier reports Gov. Henry McMaster’s office turned a very unfavorable construction audit to federal prosecutors on Sept. 5. That audit initiated by the two utilities — known as the “Bechtel report” after the engineering firm which conducted it — found a lack of management, waste and an unsteady timeline for the project at the Fairfield County nuclear plant which raised questions about its feasibility. The report specifically questioned if lead contractor Westinghouse would be able to finish work.
The federal government’s request for documents came less than two months after SCANA and Santee Cooper decided to abandon the two-reactor expansion. The state-owned utility made the decision after VC Summer fell years behind schedule and billions over budget.
SCANA confirmed it was aware of the subpoena in a brief statement. “The subpoena requires the company to produce a broad range of documents related to the project,” the statement said. “The company intends to cooperate with the government’s investigation. No assurance can be given as to the timing or outcome of this matter.”
Gov. McMaster received the Bechtel report on Sept. 4 after both utilities refused requests by legislators and regulators to make it public. Santee Cooper and SCE&G said the report contained confidential information which could be part of a future lawsuit against Westinghouse. Regulators said its contents should have been divulged while SCE&G was seeking state approval to raise its power rates. McMaster’s office only obtained the report earlier this month after he threatened to fire Santee Cooper board members, who appointments he controls.
It was not immediately clear what the U.S. Attorney’s Office is seeking through its requests, although SCANA is a publicly-traded company which is barred by federal law from misleading investors.