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SCE&G: Nuclear project running below projected cost


Staff Report
colanews@scbiznews.com
Published Aug. 15, 2014

S.C. Electric & Gas Co. has told state regulators its share of the new reactor construction project at V.C. Summer Nuclear Station in Fairfield County is still running about $765 million below budget, unchanged from a report filed three months earlier.

This aerial view of the new nuclear construction at the S.C.E.&G. nuclear station at Jenkinsville shows progress on two new reactors. (Photo provided by S.C. Electric & Gas Co.)
This aerial view of the new nuclear construction at the S.C.E.&G. nuclear station at Jenkinsville shows progress on two new reactors. (Photo provided by S.C. Electric & Gas Co.)
In its first half of 2014 update on the $9.8 billion project that the utility is building along with Santee Cooper, SCE&G said that 100 of 146 specific milestones have been completed.

However, as the company reported on Monday, it was informed by a consortium of contractors building the two 1,117-megawatt reactor units that “substantial completion” of one unit has been delayed until the end of 2018 or the first half of 2019, and that the other unit would be finished 12 months later.

Contractors have not yet provided an estimate of how much the delay will cost, the company said.

The expected “substantial completion” dates do not “reflect all efforts that may be possible to mitigate delay, nor has SCE&G accepted this new schedule,” the company said.

“Substantial completion” is the date when contractors intend to turn the unit over to the company, Steve Byrne, president of generation and transmission and COO of SCE&G explained during a conference call with analysts earlier this week.

“Now, that will include the startup testing phase,” Byrne said. “So the plant will actually be up and operating at that point in time.”

The company’s costs are based on its existing 55% interest in the project, which the Public Service Commission greenlighted in 2009. SCE&G’s share of the plant will increase to 60%, according to an agreement it signed in January with Santee Cooper.

SCANA executives have said the lower costs are largely the result of paying less to borrow money for the project, which involves the construction of two 1,117-megawatt reactor units.

The company said peak spending will occur over the next two years.

About 2,800 to 2,900 workers presently are on the construction site, company executives said during Monday’s call.