Westinghouse to continue SCE&G nuclear projects for initial peri - wistv.com - Columbia, South Carolina

Westinghouse to continue SCE&G nuclear projects for initial period of bankruptcy

COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) -

Some in the Midlands and beyond are concerned after hearing Westinghouse Electric would file for bankruptcy after big financial losses.

Westinghouse, which is owned by Toshiba, is constructing and engineering two new nuclear reactors at V.C. Summer Nuclear Station in Fairfield County.

On Tuesday, Westinghouse filed voluntary petitions under Chapter 11 of the U. S. Bankruptcy Code in federal bankruptcy court in New York.

At this point, some ratepayers and others are worried about what the impact of a bankruptcy would be to the growing nuclear plant, which is owned by SCE&G and Santee Cooper.

"We continue to monitor the situation with Westinghouse and Toshiba, and we are preparing for a variety of possible outcomes,” an SCE&G spokesperson said Tuesday afternoon. “At this time, we will not be commenting publicly regarding the details of those preparations. With around 5,000 contractors and subcontractor personnel on-site today, we continue to make progress with [the] construction of these new units."

On Monday, Tom Clements, a nuclear watchdog from Columbia, filed a docket with the South Carolina Public Service Commission requesting an emergency hearing between the commission, SCE&G, and other parties.

“As servants of the people, it is [a] time that you stepped forward and utilized the powers vested in you and not proscribed by law,” he wrote in the filing. “Such a hearing would be but one step to reviewing and acting on the matter.”

"The company is seeking to undertake a strategic restructuring as a result of certain financial and construction challenges in its U.S. AP1000 power plant projects," said a news release Tuesday morning. "Westinghouse has obtained $800 million in debtor-in-possession financing from a third-party lender to help fund and protect its core businesses during its reorganization."

The news release continues: 

"The DIP financing will fund Westinghouse’s core businesses of supporting operating plants, nuclear fuel and components manufacturing and engineering as well as decommissioning, decontamination, remediation and waste management as the company works to reorganize around these strong business units. Existing letters of credit have been cash collateralized in full and will remain in place. The financing will also allow for new letters of credit to be issued.

The Company has reached an agreement with each owner of the U.S. AP1000 projects to continue these projects during an initial assessment period. Westinghouse remains committed to its AP1000 technology as the industry’s premier Gen III+ nuclear power plant design, and will continue its existing projects in China as well as pursuit of other potential projects in the future."

Earlier this year, SCE&G announced that the two new reactors were set to be operational by April and December of 2020, respectively.

The Office of Regulatory Staff is equally concerned. The executive director told WIS he’s still seeking answers.

"The Office of Regulatory Staff is concerned about the status of those two nuclear units and what it will mean for those two units," Dukes Scott, executive director of ORS, said "We know what some of the [bankruptcy] options might be, but we don’t know which option it’s going to be."

Gov. Henry McMaster has also chimed in with a statement of his own, saying the reactors are "critical components to our future economic prosperity."

"I have spoken with Secretary Rick Perry and received briefings from the chief executive officers of the utilities involved, and will closely monitor the situation in the days and weeks to come," McMaster said. "I am confident that the plans and contingencies they have prepared will result in the completion of the project."

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