SCE&G seeks to withdraw operating license for failed Summer reactors

South Carolina Electric & Gas finalized its abandonment of two nuclear reactors under construction by telling the federal agency it would surrender the operating licenses for them, the company said in a news release Thursday.

 

The utility said it will be eligible for a tax deduction of $2 billion by surrendering the licenses now to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission. In the filing with the commission, the company states that “ it has irrevocably abandoned its interests” in the two new reactors at the V.C. Summer site. “All of its completion and preservation activities have ceased,” the company said. “Work is limited to only those actions required to place the site in a safe condition, terminate construction and close active permits.”

The company had previously told the NRC on July 31 that it was stopping construction of the new reactors, which were already way over budget. SCE&G and partner Santee Cooper had spent $9 billion on the project before moving to abandon it in July. Santee Cooper, which had a 45 percent stake in the new reactors, decided to scrap the project after concluding its cost would more than double from the $5.1 billion originally budgeted to $11.4 billion.

SCE&G is also offering to transfer its share in the project to Santee Cooper and would support that utility pursuing the licenses. Santee Cooper’s board will hold a special called session at 11 a.m. today in executive session to hear “legal advice related to new nuclear construction and to discuss negotiations incident to proposed contractual arrangements concerning the Toshiba Settlement,” according to the agenda.

Westinghouse had been the main contractor for the South Carolina project and a similar project at Plant Vogtle before it declared bankruptcy in March. Westinghouse’s parent company, Toshiba, has settled claims with the partners in Plant Vogtle for $3.66 billion and for $2.2 billion with the South Carolina project owners.

The Georgia Public Service Commission voted last week to allow Georgia Power and its partners in Vogtle to complete the two new nuclear reactors there at an increased capital budget of $7.3 billion for Georgia Power’s 45.7 percent share of the project. Georgia Power said work has continued throughout the year and has achieved some major milestones while the project’s fate was still uncertain. It now projects the first new AP1000 reactor will come online in 2021, followed by the second in 2022.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Reach Tom Corwin at (706) 823-3213 or tom.corwin@augustachronicle.com

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