SCE&G to withdraw initial V.C. Summer abandonment petition, wants 'governmental officials' to review

Published: Aug. 15, 2017 at 9:58 PM EDT|Updated: Aug. 16, 2017 at 10:04 AM EDT
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CAYCE, SC (WIS) - SCANA announced Tuesday that they have withdrawn their initial abandonment petition that, in part, caused the shut down of the V.C. Summer nuclear project in Fairfield County.

SCE&G, SCANA's principal subsidiary, says the decision to withdraw its Abandonment Petition from the Public Service Commission of South Carolina because of its filing under the Base Load Review Act.

After meeting with various stakeholders and state legislatures in recent weeks since the abandonment of V.C. Summer was announced, SCANA officials wanted to "allow for adequate time for governmental officials to conduct their reviews."

It is important to note that this withdrawal does not mean that work will resume at the plant.

"We have been meeting with government officials and various stakeholders since our announcement to abandon the new nuclear project," Kevin Marsh, SCANA Chairman, and CEO said in a statement Tuesday. "The purpose of these ongoing meetings is to discuss their concerns and to explain the path that led us to the abandonment decision. While ceasing construction was always our least desired option, based on the impact of the bankruptcy of Westinghouse on our fixed price construction contract, the results of our evaluation of the cost and time to complete the project, and Santee Cooper's decision to suspend construction, abandonment was the prudent decision."

In a teleconference Wednesday morning, Kevin Marsh, CEO of parent company SCANA, called Tuesday's voluntary withdrawal of its plans "temporary." He said pulling its request before state regulators gives lawmakers time to review the utility's move to abandon two partly built reactors at V.C. Summer Nuclear Station. The July 31 decision by SCE&G and state-owned Santee Cooper angered both politicians and customers who have been paying for the project since 2009.

Marsh says the utility "didn't draw any lines in the sand" on when it will re-file.

You can read the full announcement here: 

SCE&G, along with co-developer Santee Cooper, moved to pull out of a decade long effort to add nuclear reactors in Fairfield County. SCANA executives unveiled their plan to abandon the work on July 31, looking to the state Public Service Commission for approval. But that plan as formulated by the company has drawn the objection from the Office of Regulatory Staff.

Santee Cooper owns 45 percent of the project. South Carolina Electric & Gas owns 55 percent.

The utilities announced in late July that Westinghouse's parent company, Toshiba Corp., agreed to jointly pay them $2.2 billion regardless of whether the reactors are ever completed.

Santee Cooper says the decision is expected to save customers nearly $7 billion in additional costs to complete the project. The company says it has spent about $4.7 billion in construction and interest so far on the project.

Both companies say they spent $10 billion on the project, with most of the money coming from utility customers.

The reactors were planned for the V.C. Summer Nuclear Station north of Columbia.

The abandonment decision put more than 5,000 people out of work, a move which many are calling "blindsiding."

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