Anti-nuclear protestors rally against site at State House

Anti-nuclear protestors rally against site at State House

COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) - The Toshiba Corporation has racked up $6.3 billion in losses and that could impact its Westinghouse Nuclear subsidiary. Westinghouse is handling engineering and construction of the plants at the V.C. Summer site in Jenkinsville.

The nuclear power expansion at V.C. Summer has been a protest target for years and the criticism itself hasn't done much to slow construction.

At the State House on Thursday, members of an anti-nuclear group zeroed in on Toshiba's financial problems to make a point about the plants and their cost for ratepayers. The small group was fighting the nukes with an exercise in street theater. Their complaints have often been aimed at construction delays that have pushed back reactor startup by several years and the escalating costs that follow those delays. The project is over original budget projections by more than $4 billion dollars.

Critics say too many of the added costs have been passed on to ratepayers, and while they blame SCE&G and state-owned Santee Cooper, state lawmakers and the Public Service Commission also came under fire on Thursday.

"We elected these people," Leslie Minerd, a SCAMA protester expressed. "We elected them and they are not accountable to us. They are accountable to Mr. SCE&G and SCANA. And I've seen this over and over. I've been down to the Public Service Commission where if they come in and ask for rate hikes, they just rubber stamp it."

Last year, the SCANA Corporation put a cap on cost overruns in a settlement with the Small Business Chamber of Commerce and some of the protesters. That means SCE&G has limits on rate hikes.

Westinghouse Nuclear issued a statement on Wednesday reaffirming its commitment to finishing work on the V.C. Summer units. Both of them are now expected to be up and running in the year 2020.

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