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New Details on Abandoned V.C. Summer Nuclear Project Show Its Developers ‘Papered Over’ Problems While They Charged Ratepayers Billions

September 11, 2017

Louisville Courier-Journal:

Nine years into their effort to build two new nuclear reactors, SCANA and Santee Cooper officials were confronted this summer with a painful reality: billions of dollars from ratepayers had taken them only so far.

Newly-obtained emails, letters and other documents show:

  • Finishing the project would require at least 23 million man hours of additional work.
  • The project would cost $13 billion more than the initial budget called for in 2009.
  • It would take four to six more years than what SCANA told state utility regulators last year.

These and other revelations are in documents The Post and Courier obtained from Santee Cooper through a Freedom of Information Act request.

Taken together, they reveal a behind-the-scenes story of frustration and uncertainty.

They show how officials papered over these problems in public, and the documents raise fresh questions about why it took so long for SCANA and Santee Cooper to realize the seriousness of their project’s problems. Or for state regulators to question the project’s obvious shortcomings.

Long before it turned into a boondoggle, the VC Summer plant was supposed to herald a nuclear renaissance.

SCANA and Santee Cooper had hired Westinghouse, which had long touted its reactors as “the safest and most economical nuclear power plant available.”

With two new reactors next to the existing one at VC Summer, SCANA and Santee Cooper hoped to generate decades of electricity practically free of carbon emissions.

More: Documents: Failed South Carolina nuclear project was years and millions of hours away from completion

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