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Cost overruns halt building of 2 nuke power plants in US

The board of Santee Cooper, which owns 45% of the project, voted unanimously on Monday to halt construction, citing costs officials said could reach over $25 billion.The project has been shrouded in doubt since earlier this year when primary contractor Westinghouse filed for bankruptcy protection. “We also call on Georgia Power and their utility partners to protect their customers from the similarly risky, mismanaged project in Georgia at Southern Company’s Plant Vogtle”. Westinghouse managed the project, which was two years behind schedule and $4.2 billion over budget. For the time being, work continues on Vogtle and a cost analysis is underway that will be finished next month, he said.”Once Georgia Power’s assessment is completed in August, we will work with the Georgia Public Service Commission to determine the best path forward for Georgia customers”, said Georgia Power spokesman Jacob Hawkins. This was approved by Santee Cooper’s board in 2016. But there are big and important differences between the Georgia and SC projects, said Stan Wise, chair of the Georgia PSC. But the Public Service Commission has no authority over the state-owned utility.The Aircraft Impact Assessment change was not the only reason that Westinghouse bid using an incomplete design or the only reason that the project experienced the overwhelming challenges that it did, but it is hard to separate the effect of occupying design engineer time to obtain a new design certification from the lack of progress in detailed design during the period between contract signature and construction start. It added that an option to complete construction of one reactor would have been feasible, but was eliminated after Santee Cooper’s decision.The abandonment of the several billion dollar nuclear plant project in Fairfield county has shocked some.It is a pivotal time for the nation’s nuclear industry.The partners in the SC project, SCANA and a supplier to electric cooperatives, Santee Cooper, said Monday that they made the decision because of rising costs of the $14 billion project, falling demand for electricity, construction delays and the bankruptcy of a key contractor. “The schedule delays increased the projected interest costs 143 percent over the original plan”. “We simply can not ask our customers to pay for a project that has become uneconomical”. CB&I also acquired Shaw’s Stone & Webster nuclear construction business as part of the $3 billion deal, then sold CB&I Stone & Webster to Toshiba’s Westinghouse unit in 2015.Meanwhile, the companies agreed to relinquish Toshiba from its responsibilities in the project in exchange for $2.2 billion.Completing Unit 2 and abandoning Unit 3 would have cost $7.1 billion, it said.The new generation reactors were expected to be safer and less costly.Originally proposed in 2007, the two-reactor expansion of the Summer plant was supposed to be completed by 2017 and 2018, respectively. And majority partner SCANA said its analysis showed the company would be unable to make a January 2021 deadline to qualify for federal tax credits that were aimed at reviving the struggling nuclear industry. SC may be bringing a previously shuttered coal plant back online to make up for the lost energy. Based on this evaluation and analysis, SCE&G concluded that completion of both units would be prohibitively expensive.PSC member Elizabeth Fleming said she was concerned that the project was being abandoned after so much effort.The nuclear industry slogan for the last ten years has been ‘nuclear matters.’ Indeed it does, when it comes to harmful use of electric customer money.