De­lays for SC nu­clear plant pres­sure in­dus­try

The Covington News - - THE WIRE -

AT­LANTA (AP) — Ex­pen­sive de­lays are pil­ing up for the com­pa­nies build­ing new nu­clear power plants, rais­ing fresh ques­tions about whether they can con­trol the con­struc­tion costs that crip­pled the in­dus­try years ago.

The lat­est an­nounce­ment came this week from ex­ec­u­tives at SCANA Corp., which has been warned by its builders the startup of the first of two new re­ac­tors in South Carolina could be de­layed two years or more. SCANA Corp. and plant co-owner San­tee Cooper have not ac­cepted that time­line from the com­pa­nies de­sign­ing and build­ing the re­ac­tors, nor have they ac­cepted re­spon­si­bil­ity for ad­di­tional costs.

That an­nounce­ment may well fore­shadow more de­lays for a sis­ter project in eastern Ge­or­gia, and they have caught the at­ten­tion of reg­u­la­tors and Wall Street.

“De­lays gen­er­ally cause cost in­creases, and the ques­tion be­comes who’s go­ing to bear the costs?” said C. Dukes Scott, ex­ec­u­tive direc­tor of the South Carolina Of­fice of Reg­u­la­tory Staff, a watch­dog agency that mon­i­tors SCANA Corp.’s spend­ing.

None of this is help­ful for the nu­clear power in­dus­try, which had hoped its new­est gen­er­a­tion of plants in Ge­or­gia and South Carolina would prove it could build with­out the de­lays and cost over­runs so en­demic years ago. When con­struc­tion slows down, it costs more money to em­ploy the thou­sands of work­ers needed to build a nu­clear plant. Mean­while, in­ter­est charges add up on the money bor­rowed to fi­nance con­struc­tion.

A sin­gle day of de­lay in Ge­or­gia could cost $2 mil­lion, ac­cord­ing to an anal­y­sis by util­ity reg­u­la­tors.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.