A secretly-released review could have been the 'writing on the wall' for V.C. Summer's eventual failure

A secretly-released review could have been the 'writing on the wall' for V.C. Summer's eventual failure

COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) - A formerly secret review of the V.C. Summer construction project on two new nuclear reactors is released.

Governor Henry McMaster's office received the report on Monday morning from state-owned utility company Santee Cooper and then released the Bechtel Report to the media.

According to the report conducted in February 2016, there were issues out at the V.C. Summer site before its shutdown in July 2017.

According to that report, plans and schedules were not reflective of actual project circumstances, detailed engineering designs were not yet completed, issued designs were not constructible, among other things.

Some former employees wish they knew then what they know now, calling this report the "writing on the wall." Some of those in supervisory roles at the site,
like Drew Morris, say some design issues were likely because the project was so up-and-coming, unlike any other.

"It was a prototype design. This was one of four plants in the U.S.," Morris told WIS. Still, he wishes now he had known more of what he realizes now
from this recently uncovered Bechtel report.

"The handwriting I think it was on the wall. Some of it was there," Morris says. "You know, it kind of makes sense, some stuff we saw that you know, the way some things were run. Sometimes, you really don't know until after the fact."

Other former employees like Leonard Simmons now wishes workers like himself stuck in town, still searching for work without a job, could get a help in hand-up.

"Give us, give us eight weeks 40-hour checks. Just give us eight weeks, to stay rolling. Give us something instead of just - what? We have nothing," Simmons says.

The shock to them in the Bechtel report is that the plant closed construction on the two new reactors after things seemed to go well in the last couple of months.

Former employee Vernon Regan told WIS that in staff meetings in May and June, workers were told not to believe any rumor that things were headed to a halt.

"I mean you know, in February of '16 according to this report they still had 15 to 18 months of engineering to be completed," Sen. Nikki Setzler (D- Lexington) says. "Well, that's ridiculous. As long as this project's been underway and what they were doing, the turnover that was going on, the number of supervisors they had versus people actually doing work. I think we need to continue to keep digging."

WIS has reached out to Santee Cooper for a statement or comment on the Bechtel report and WAS told they are working on that. The board has called a special meeting for Wednesday.

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