South Carolina Electric & Gas to file plan of abandonment of the new nuclear project
Tuesday, Aug 01, 2017
South Carolina Electric & Gas Company (SCE&G), principal subsidiary of SCANA Corporation, announced that it will cease construction of the two new nuclear units (Units) at the V.C. Summer Nuclear Station in Jenkinsville, SC and will promptly file a petition with the Public Service Commission of South Carolina seeking approval of its abandonment plan.

This decision was reached by SCE&G after considering the additional costs to complete the Units, the uncertainty regarding the availability of production tax credits for the project, the amount of anticipated guaranty settlement payments from Toshiba Corporation (Toshiba), and other matters associated with continuing construction, including the decision of the co-owner of the project, the South Carolina Public Service Authority (Santee Cooper), the state owned electric utility, to suspend construction of the project.  Based on these factors, SCE&G concluded that it would not be in the best interest of its customers and other stakeholders to continue construction of the project.    

Following the bankruptcy filing of Westinghouse Electric Company, LLC (WEC), SCE&G and Santee Cooper each began a comprehensive process of evaluating the most prudent path forward for the Units.  The project owners worked with WEC and Fluor Corporation, as well as other technical and industry experts, to evaluate the project costs and schedules.

Based on this evaluation and analysis, SCE&G concluded that completion of both Units would be prohibitively expensive.  According to SCE&G's analysis, the additional cost to complete both Units beyond the amounts payable in connection with the engineering, procurement, and construction contract would materially exceed prior WEC estimates, as well as the anticipated guaranty settlement payments from Toshiba.  Moreover, the Units would need to be online before January 1, 2021, to qualify for production tax credits, under current tax rules.  SCE&G's analysis concluded the Units could not be brought online until after this date.

SCE&G also considered the feasibility of completing the construction of Unit 2 and abandoning Unit 3 under the existing ownership structure and using natural gas generation to fulfill any remaining generation needs.  This option provided a potentially achievable path forward that may have delivered SCE&G a similar megawatt capacity as its 55% interest in the two Units and provided a long-term hedge against carbon legislation/regulation and against gas price volatility.  SCE&G had not reached a final decision regarding this alternative when Santee Cooper determined that it would be unwilling to proceed with continued construction of two Units or one Unit.  Consequently, SCE&G determined that it is not in the best interest of customers and other stakeholders for it to continue construction of one Unit.

Based on this evaluation and analysis, and Santee Cooper's decision, SCE&G has concluded that the only remaining prudent course of action will be to abandon the construction of both Unit 2 and Unit 3 under the terms of the Base Load Review Act (BLRA).

SCANA Chairman and CEO, Kevin Marsh, said, "We arrived at this very difficult but necessary decision following months of evaluating the project from all perspectives to determine the most prudent path forward. Many factors outside our control have changed since inception of this project. Chief among them, the bankruptcy of our primary construction contractor, Westinghouse, eliminated the benefits of the fixed-price contract to our customers, investors, and other stakeholders. Ultimately, our project co-owner Santee Cooper's decision to suspend construction made clear that proceeding on our own would not be economically feasible. Ceasing work on the project was our least desired option, but this is the right thing to do at this time."

"Many of our employees have worked extremely hard over the years to build these new units. That's one of the factors that makes this decision particularly difficult. We are deeply grateful for all their contributions and will do our best to support those affected by these changes. We also recognize the impact that our path forward will have on customers, communities, shareholders, and the nuclear industry as a whole."

"Our belief in the benefits of nuclear generation - not just for the state, but for the nation - hasn't changed. As we have been doing for more than 30 years, we will continue providing customers with a valuable low-cost, non-emitting source of generation through our operating nuclear unit at V.C. Summer."

Normal construction activities at the site will cease immediately and efforts will be shifted toward an orderly transition of winding down and securing the project property.  SCE&G plans to use the anticipated payments resulting from the settlement of Toshiba's guaranty to mitigate cost impacts to SCE&G electric customers.

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