In a major blow to the future of nuclear power in the United States, two South Carolina utilities said on Monday that they would abandon two unfinished nuclear reactors in the state, putting an end to a project that was once expected to showcase advanced nuclear technology but has since been plagued by delays and cost overruns. The two reactors, which have cost the utilities roughly $9 billion, remain less than 40 percent built. The cancellation means there are just two new nuclear units being built in the country — both in Georgia — while more than a dozen older nuclear plants are being retired in the face of low natural gas prices. Originally scheduled to come online by 2018, the V.C. Summer nuclear project in South Carolina had been plagued by disputes with regulators and numerous construction problems. This year, utility officials estimated that the reactors would not begin generating electricity before 2021 and could cost as much as $25 billion — more than twice the initial $11.5 billion estimate.
New York Times 31st July 2017 read more »
Washington Post 31st July 2017 read more »
The State 31st July 2017 read more »
Work has been suspended on two nuclear reactors being built by Westinghouse in South Carolina, dealing another big blow to the nuclear power business of Japan’s Toshiba. Santee Cooper and South Carolina Electric & Gas Company said on Monday that they had ordered a halt to construction of their jointly-owned project, known as the VC Summer plant, in Jenkinsville with immediate effect due to spiralling costs. The power station is one of two nuclear plants being built by Westinghouse in the US and its suspension will raise further doubts about the future of the other, known as Plant Vogtle, owned by Southern Company in Georgia. Problems at the two Westinghouse projects in the US have been mirrored in Europe, where new plants using French technology in France and Finland are years late and billions of euros over-budget. Westinghouse already faced a struggle to win more business for the AP1000 reactor around the world and the suspension of two of the four reactors under construction in the US will make that job still harder.
FT 31st July 2017 read more »
South Carolina utilities said on Monday they are abandoning two unfinished reactors that were once hailed as the start of a U.S. nuclear power renaissance before they were dogged by billions of dollars in cost overruns. The reactors were proposed a decade ago when U.S. policymakers expected more than a dozen new nuclear power plants to provide carbon-free electricity. In the years since, however, a shale revolution unleashed a glut of cheaper natural gas, the Fukushima accident in Japan raised fresh safety concerns and the Trump administration is now unwinding steps aimed at countering climate change. A presentation to the Santee Cooper board showed that in the wake of Westinghouse’s bankruptcy the project would likely not be completed before 2023 and would go 75 percent over the initial budget, to as much as $24 billion. Halting V.C. Summer increases the likelihood Southern Co will abandon the Vogtle project, adding to a long list of nuclear power plants canceled after construction began. “The collapse of the Summer project should be a cautionary tale,” said Edwin Lyman, a senior scientist with the Global Security Program at the Union of Concerned Scientists in Washington. He said new designs will still require billions of dollars to ensure they meet strict safety standards. “Unless the nuclear industry acknowledges that there are no shortcuts to development of new nuclear power technology, it will be doomed to repeat this failure,” he said.
Reuters 31st July 2017 read more »
Daily Mail 1st Aug 2017 read more »
First nuclear reactors built in 40 years abandoned – but may cost US taxpayers £19BILLION
Express 1st Aug 2017 read more »
Efforts to build two state-of-the-art nuclear reactors at the V.C. Summer Nuclear Plant in Fairfield County have gone inert. Citing escalating costs, uncertainty over tax credits and the amount of Toshiba’s recent financial pledge, SCANA Corp., the majority partner at V.C. Summer, said in a statement it plans to file a notice of abandonment with state regulators. The decision follows a similar by minority partner Santee Cooper to suspend construction efforts. Santee Cooper said doing so would save its customers $7 billion.
Aiken Standard 31st July 2017 read more »
It is a pivotal time for the nation’s nuclear industry. Utilities in Georgia and South Carolina are preparing to publicly say whether they will finish their reactor projects and how much that will cost. Their decisions could determine whether another baseload nuclear power plant gets built in the United States. For South Carolina, that announcement could come as early as today. State-owned Santee Cooper has called for a special board meeting at 10 a.m. Santee Cooper owns 45 percent of Scana Corp.’s V.C. Summer project. Analysts have already signaled that if Santee Cooper decides it can no longer remain a partner in the project that another one would be needed to help Scana’s South Carolina Electric & Gas Co. August is a key month for many reasons, beginning with Santee Cooper’s board meeting. SCE&G has been scheduled to update South Carolina utility regulators tomorrow, and Georgia Power said it publicly will reveal a new cost-and-schedule update by the end of the month. The public power companies that are partners in Vogtle also have scheduled board meetings.
EE News 31st July 2017 read more »