Regulators approve new South Carolina Electric & Gas nuclear reactors

  • Follow Metro

CHARLESTON, S.C. — For the second time in as many months, federal regulators on Friday approved plans by the nation’s power companies to build new nuclear reactors to generate electricity.

During a brief meeting in Washington, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission voted 4-1 to allow South Carolina Electric & Gas to build two new 1,100-megawatt reactors at its V.C. Summer Nuclear Station in Jenkinsville near Columbia.

The project is only the second to receive federal approval in a generation. Last month, the commission voted to issue a permit to
Atlanta-based Southern Co. to build and operate two new reactors at its Plant Vogtle site south of Augusta, Ga., the first such approval since 1978.

The South Carolina reactors will be jointly owned and operated with South Carolina’s state-owned utility Santee Cooper.

The first is expected to be on line by 2016; the second in 2019.

Kevin Marsh, the president and chief executive officer of SC&G said the company owns about 55 percent of the project that will cost around $10 billion.

He said when the new units come on line, the company’s power mix will be about one third coal, one third nuclear and one third natural gas.

“We still have a growing need for electricity in South Carolina,” he said. “We needed something that was clean and reliable and non-emitting and that really comes down to nuclear power or natural gas in South Carolina.”

“These new nuclear units are a critical component of Santee Cooper’s long-term plan to diversify our generation mix,” said Lonnie Carter, the president and CEO of the state-owned utility.

As he did last month on the Plant Vogtle vote, NRC Chairman Gregory Jaczko voted against the license.

He wants licenses to require all safety improvements presently being developed by the NRC staff based on what was learned in the nuclear accident at Fukushima, Japan, last year. The SCE&G license includes requirements for one of those improvements ordered after the Vogtle license was approved.

U.S. Rep. Edward J. Markey, D-Mass., a senior member of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, called the vote “another victory for the nuclear industry’s effort to avoid implementation of the safety upgrades recommended by the NRC’s professional staff in the aftermath of the Fukushima nuclear meltdowns.”

The Friday licensing decision was hailed by the nuclear industry and criticized by a nuclear power opponent.

Tom Clements of the Alliance for Nuclear Accountability in Columbia said the reactor design makes it vulnerable in earthquakes and neither the Vogtle nor the Summer projects should continue until those safety concerns are addressed.

Marvin Fertel, the president and chief executive officer of the Nuclear Energy Institute said Friday’s decision combined with the Plant Vogtle license will mean an additional 5,600 megawatts of nuclear generating capacity for the Southeast by the end of the decade.

“That’s reliable, low-carbon electricity for about 10 cities the size of Columbia, S.C.,” he said. Columbia has about 130,000 people.

Comments (6) Add comment
ADVISORY: Users are solely responsible for opinions they post here and for following agreed-upon rules of civility. Posts and comments do not reflect the views of this site. Posts and comments are automatically checked for inappropriate language, but readers might find some comments offensive or inaccurate. If you believe a comment violates our rules, click the "Flag as offensive" link below the comment.
SCEagle Eye
933
Points
SCEagle Eye 03/30/12 - 08:34 pm
1
2
Electric rates in the SCE&G

Electric rates in the SCE&G service area are poised to blast through the roof due to this risky project. Next time, try the cheapest, quickest option first - conservation and efficiency.

Pu239
284
Points
Pu239 03/30/12 - 08:50 pm
0
0
No Nukes! No Coal Burners!
Unpublished

No Nukes! No Coal Burners! No Natural Gas Turbines! NO ELECTRICITY!

KSL
140382
Points
KSL 03/30/12 - 08:57 pm
0
1
What are your credentials to

What are your credentials to advise us?

KSL
140382
Points
KSL 03/30/12 - 09:00 pm
0
1
Explain conservation when you

Explain conservation when you know we are trying to attract new companies to provide jobs.

Yep, I understand that we want energy efficiency, but the truth of the matter is that to have more companies coming in to provide jobs, by necessity, the requirement for more electricity is going to be there.

KSL
140382
Points
KSL 03/30/12 - 09:01 pm
0
1
Screw the electric companies,

Screw the electric companies, how do you charge those electric cars?

Dupe people into buying electric cars and then get their money through higher electric rates.

Pu239
284
Points
Pu239 03/30/12 - 09:22 pm
0
0
Next generation power
Unpublished

Next generation power generated by fuzzy bunny slippers on nylon carpeting.....

Pu239
284
Points
Pu239 03/30/12 - 09:24 pm
0
0
Force all power plant boilers
Unpublished

Force all power plant boilers to burn # 6 !

SCEagle Eye
933
Points
SCEagle Eye 03/31/12 - 07:02 am
1
1
To pay in advance for the

To pay in advance for the reactors, SCE&G rates have already gone up four times since the project was approved and are set to go up again in the coming months. We get nothing for this and are told to keep paying until the reactors come on line, so customers are advised not to die or move out of state. These increases are only to pay for financing costs which are a smaller portion of the cost. When capitol costs for construction start going in to the rate base in 2016 or so, watch what happens. As we saw in the big protests against large rate increases in 2010, it won't be a surprise if there is some form of rate payer rebellion. Well, maybe it would be best to move to avoid increases that are coming. Businesses will be watching, you betcaha. Thanks, big government, for giving SCE&G a huge handout that sticks it to the rest of us while they avoid all risks and costs.

gagentleman
103
Points
gagentleman 03/31/12 - 11:18 am
1
0
the scary part is sce&g is

the scary part is sce&g is notorious for building using non-union labor which 80% have had no formal training,i have worked for companies that hired people who said they were electricians that couldnt even screw in a light bulb.union craftsman have anywhere from 4 to 5 yrs of apprentiship schooling both classroom and on the job training and as far as nuclear const. these attributes should be demanded.its like a cardioligist,would you want someone working on your heart who just says hes a dr. or one you know has had all the proper training.

Pu239
284
Points
Pu239 03/31/12 - 05:05 pm
0
0
Amazing! Now we have IBEW
Unpublished

Amazing! Now we have IBEW physicians

Back to Top

Top headlines

Georgia Regents' hospital plan chosen

Georgia Regents Medical Center won a lengthy and hardfought battle over two other Augusta hospitals to build the first hospital in Columbia County, the Georgia Department of Community Health ...
Search Augusta jobs