South Carolina county votes to sue utility over reactors

South Carolina county votes to sue utility over reactors

WINNSBORO, S.C. (AP) - A South Carolina county has voted to sue one of the utilities that abandoned construction on two nuclear reactors, calling the company decision a breach of contract.

The Post and Courier of Charleston reported that the Fairfield County Council voted Tuesday to sue SCANA Corp. over the cancellation of the reactors in Jenkinsville, about 25 miles northwest of Columbia.

"SCE&G and the V.C. Summer Station have been valuable members of our community for many years," Fairfield County Chairman Billy Smith said in a statement. "However, the Council owes it to the citizens of our County to do whatever we can to mediate and recoup the financial losses created by SCE&G's decision to abandon the project. The County is not looking for any kind of financial windfall, we just hope that this litigation can get our County closer the position it would have been in had SCE&G acted in good faith, diligently completed these projects, and not chosen to abandon the construction of the plants."

The council says SCANA's decision violated a contract offering special tax treatment for the V.C. Summer Nuclear Station.

"As all efforts to resolve this matter without suit have failed, and it appearing that time is of the essence, as SCE&G/SCANA wishes to abandon the V.C. Summer project and write-off this matter as a loss, I would move to authorize our attorneys in the SCE&G/VC Summer matter to move forward with the filing of a lawsuit against SCE&G/SCANA and any other necessary parties based upon SCE&G/SCANA's failure to comply with the terms of the fee-in-lieu contract between SCE&G/SCANA and the County, and to also file, if they deem necessary, a temporary restraining order to prevent SCE&G from abandoning this project and not protecting the assets at VC Summer," said Fairfield County Councilman Neil Robinson in a statement. "Furthermore, I would move that County Administrator, Jason Taylor, be allowed to sign any necessary verifications on behalf of the County of Fairfield as they pertain to the lawsuit in question.

Council members said they had borrowed $24 million, in part, for infrastructure improvements, expecting to get $80 million a year from SCANA.

SCANA and the state-owned utility Santee Cooper stopped construction July 31, mostly blaming the bankruptcy of principal contractor Westinghouse.

SCANA spokesman Eric Boomhower said the company doesn't talk about pending litigation.

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