by Tom Baxter
11/13/17 ATLANTA: From a design point of view, the nuclear projects at Plant Vogtle and the V.C. Summer site in South Carolina were identical. They were to be the first in a new generation of U.S. nuclear reactors, the Westinghouse AP1000s, cheaper, easier to build and safer than their predecessors.
After years of costly delays, the fate of the two projects diverged last summer, when the South Carolina utilities funding the Summer project pulled the plug on it, just days after the Georgia Public Service gave the go-ahead for continuing construction at Vogtle, despite the bankruptcy of Westinghouse.
The impact of the Westinghouse debacle has been felt more sharply in South Carolina, where a substantially smaller population of ratepayers is shouldering the enormous costs. One result of this has been a very productive competition between Columbia’s The State and Charleston’s The Post and Courier, both of which have been aggressive in reporting on the regulatory failures that accompanied the engineering blunders on the road to ruin for the Summer project.
Last week, as the Georgia Public Service Commission was holding four days of hearings on the future of the Vogtle project, portable devices were buzzing with the fruits of that effort.
by Matt Kempner
8/6/17 ATLANTA: Our bumbling aspiration in Georgia to build more nuclear power is looking suspiciously like that wooden block game, Jenga.
You know, the one where you take turns pulling out a block at a time, hoping not to topple the teetering tower.
How many pieces can be pulled out before Georgia Power’s nuclear expansion at Plant Vogtle metaphorically collapses and takes with it billions of dollars in consumer money?
The few remaining blocks left at the project’s base look shaky to me. (Well, except maybe Georgia Power’s eagerness to continue with a project the state ensures will be delightfully profitable for the power company even though Vogtle is billions of dollars over budget and years behind on completion.)
Small community power systems across the state may be the next blocks to be yanked out of the last nuclear plant still under construction in the U.S.
If you happen to notice what just happened across the border in South Carolina, you’ll know what I’m talking about.
by Kristi E. Swartz
4/20/2017: Roughly 30 vendors have asked Westinghouse Electric Co. to return $35 million in materials and products that the mega-contractor ordered for four nuclear reactors in Georgia and South Carolina before the company filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection, documents show.
At issue are “reclamation of claim” letters, which are routine during a matter of bankruptcy. Broadly, they allow vendors to ask that unpaid materials and goods ordered within 45 days of a bankruptcy filing be set aside and returned.
by Kristi Swartz
4/14/17: Scana Corp. executives might extend a contract with Westinghouse Electric Co. LLC as the utility decides whether to complete its multibillion-dollar nuclear power expansion in South Carolina.
Meanwhile, Southern Co.’s Georgia Power unit has yet to decide whether it needs more time to figure out how to proceed with its twin reactors under construction in Georgia.
by Gloria Tatum
(APN) ATLANTA 4/5/17— Westinghouse Electric Corporation, the designer and builder of the AP1000 nuclear reactors under construction in Georgia and South Carolina, has filed for Chapter 11 reorganization bankruptcy, putting the future of the nuclear power industry in jeopardy.
Clean energy advocates hope this bankruptcy will be a wooden stake in the heart of the so-called “nuclear renaissance” that finally kills it, including the incomplete new reactor units 3 and 4 at Plant Vogtle.
A 2.4-million-pound module that will house components in the first of two new nuclear reactors is moved into place at the V.C. Summer plant north of Columbia. The utility’s financing method is drawing criticism.
by David Wren
Charleston, SC 8/11/15 — State regulators should review the pay-as-you-go method being used to build a nuclear power plant near Jenkinsville to see if it really is saving money or simply letting South Carolina Electric & Gas pass costs it should absorb on to its customers, the head of the S.C. Small Business Chamber said Tuesday.
A spokesman for the utility, however, said the state already reviews the project’s finances and proposed utility rate increases, all of which are available for public review.
Frank Knapp Jr., the chamber’s CEO, said he’s not convinced the current financing method — under a state law called the Base Load Review Act — is fair to consumers, including the business owners his group represents.
South Carolina 6/28/15 — With SCE&G’s electrical rates growing 26 percent over the last five years, protecting the consumers’ interest has never been more important.
Unfortunately, the consumer was the loser in the state’s recent decision to allow the utility to keep confidential part of its rate hike request.
The information in question dealt with financing costs for the construction of two new nuclear reactors at the V.C. Summer site in Fairfield. SCE&G claimed the information contained “trade secrets” protected under the Freedom of Information Act.