South Carolina Pulls the Plug on Two Nuclear Reactors
The culprits include rising costs, falling demand for energy, construction delays, and the bankruptcy of lead contractor Westinghouse.
After nine years, Santee Cooper and South Carolina Electric & Gas (SCE&G) are pulling the plug on the fourteen billion dollar reactor project in Fairfield County, South Carolina.
Westinghouse is the vendor of the AP1000 experimental nuclear reactors that were planned at the V.C. Summer site.
These are the same reactors that are being used at Plant Vogtle in Georgia.
As nuclear reactors are being retired in U.S. states across the country, Georgia is now the only state still holding on to the utilities’ dream of a so-called “Nuclear Renaissance.”
Toshiba, which owns Westinghouse is also in dire financial shape and is a candidate for bankruptcy.
“We applaud Santee Cooper and SCE&G for making the right decision to protect their customers. This project has been a multi-billion dollar disaster,” Dr. Stephen Smith, Executive Director, Southern Alliance for Clean Energy (SACE), said in a press statement.
“We also call on Georgia Power and their utility partners to protect their customers from the similarly risky, mismanaged project in Georgia at Southern Company’s Plant Vogtle,” Smith said.
Energy customers in both Georgia and South Carolina have criticized anti-consumer state laws that force ratepayers to pay in advance for construction of the nuclear reactors through fees on their monthly power bills, when it is questionable whether the energy is needed.
Georgia Power’s Plant Vogtle Units 3 and 4 are also squandering ratepayer money. Like with Units 1 and 2 before it, the current Vogtle project is billions of dollars over budget with schedule delays and technical problems, and the construction is only about one-third complete after eight years.
For years, many groups and individuals have repeatedly warned about the risks of cost overruns and delays and are now calling for decisionmakers to be held accountable for ignoring all the warning signs.
Both companies have been criticized for not promoting more renewable alternatives, like solar energy, which are quicker to build; as well as cheap, clean, and abundant in the South.
All five Georgia Public Service Commissioners are pro-nuclear.
“The dissimilarities of these projects should be recognized before making any suppositions on whether construction will continue at Plant Vogtle based on decisions made in South Carolina, Commissioner Stan Wise..
Wise said he plans to ask his colleagues, staff, and Georgia Power at the August 10, 2017 Energy Committee meeting for a decision by the end of the year on whether they will move forward with construction at Vogtle.
(END / Copyright Atlanta Progressive News / 2017)