Even though power companies SCANA and Santee Cooper have abandoned their nuclear reactor expansion at the VC Summer plant in Fairfield County, Gov. Henry McMaster insists the state is still in talks with other companies to take over the project.
“They are going to have to be maintained,” McMaster told reporters. “As you know we are entertaining conversations with companies all over the east, the Southeast. There is enormous interest in South Carolina.”
The two utility companies stopped construction on the reactors at the end of July after coming to the conclusion there was no way to complete the project without going billions of dollars further into debt. SCANA indicated earlier this month it will no longer try to even maintain the site in order to quailfy for roughly $2 billion in tax deductions. Company executives told the state Public Service Commission they had received no serious bids to continue work from other utilities.
The governor is holding out hope that some company will take over the project and finish the reactors. “Even if they’re not completed right away they can be completed later,” McMaster said.
According to The State newspaper, state-owned utility Santee Cooper has been mentioned as the most likely company to continue the site’s maintenance, which could cost $15 million each year. Outgoing CEO Lonnie Carter has told lawmakers he believes work at V.C. Summer could be restarted again years down the road, but only after the next-generation technology is operated at other sites first.
When the two companies shut down he project more than 5,000 people were out of work. Customers had been charged $1.7 billion by SCE&G for the ill-fated reactors.