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PostPosted: Jul 09, 2018 3:28 pm 
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The steel wasted in SC's failed nuclear project is enough to build an NFL stadium


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PostPosted: Jul 29, 2018 1:52 pm 
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1 year after nuclear plants abandoned, fallout continues

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In the 12 muddled months since the abandonment of two South Carolina nuclear reactors that never produced a watt of power, only one thing seems certain: it will take a lot of litigation to untangle the mess. Courtrooms are where much of the saga some call South Carolina's nuclear boondoggle will unfold. South Carolina Electric & Gas Co. and state-owned utility Santee Cooper spent more than $9 billion before abandoning construction on the reactors at the V.C. Summer Nuclear Station near Columbia last year. State and federal authorities are probing the failure, and irate customers and shareholders have filed lawsuits.

"We're just at the end of the beginning," said Lynn Teague, vice president of the League of Women Voters in South Carolina who has made protecting ratepayers her goal since noticing things weren't going right for the projects three years ago.

Customers of SCE&G, a SCANA subsidiary, got a temporary 15 percent rate cut. But even the rate cut isn't on bills yet. Four months of cuts are supposed to show up in August. SCE&G is asking a federal court to stop it, but a judge hasn't taken up the request. There is also a likely showdown ahead between Gov. Henry McMaster and the state Senate about whether the governor's pick to run the board of state-owned Santee Cooper can start immediately without Senate approval. And there are ongoing criminal investigations of potential wrongdoing. The complexity in unraveling the mess is in part because the two different utilities involved. SCE&G is privately owned with shareholders able to shoulder the loss . Dominion Energy in Virginia appears to be working toward a merger with SCE&G that is awaiting approval. Santee Cooper is owned by the state and its holdings include land and lakes as well as the power grid. The utility the chief provider for power for the tinier co-ops that serve some of the most remote areas of South Carolina. The utility's debt — which includes more than just the billions poured into the failed nuclear reactors — is around $8 billion or roughly equal to the annual state budget. Because of the debt, South Carolina lawmakers have created a committee to study selling Santee Cooper, an idea wholeheartedly supported by McMaster, who used his one appointment to the panel to appoint himself. McMaster also chose former state Attorney General Charlie Condon to be the new chairman of the Santee Cooper board. But the Senate did not vote on Condon's appointment before adjourning in June. McMaster said a state law allows him to put Condon in place now without a vote. Senate leaders said no and the dispute is probably heading to court. Amid all the problems, there are lawmakers and experts who believe the nuclear fiasco could spur change. South Carolina could shed pursuit of massive plants that produce more and more energy and instead focus on developing energy storage and renewable power and allowing competition. Republican Sen. Wes Climer of Rock Hill said lawmakers must act carefully but also take advantage of this opportunity.

"We got out the paddles and kept the patient from dying. We did CPR," Climer said of the past year in the Legislature. "Now we need to nurse him back to health."

But experts predict whether Santee Cooper is sold or not, rates are going up for its customers. The average Santee Cooper customer pays $130 a month, while SCE&G customers pay some of the highest rates in the nation at $163 a month, based on power usage statstics.

"They had three to four billion of state assets and they go up there and they put money in the hole and now, of course, they're not going to go under because they have a captive audience," Condon told lawmakers considering his appointment in April. "But is that fair to all concerned? I think not."


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PostPosted: Aug 02, 2018 9:51 am 
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Westinghouse Sale to Brookfield Complete

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Westinghouse Electric Company, the global leader in nuclear technology, fuels and services, today announced the completion of its previously announced sale to Brookfield Business Partners L.P. BBU, +1.84% (BBU.UN) together with institutional partners (collectively, “Brookfield”) and emergence from Chapter 11 as a reorganized company. Announced on Jan. 4, 2018, the transaction was closed and became effective today.

“The close of this transaction marks an exciting milestone for Westinghouse as we have successfully emerged from Chapter 11, and continue to navigate a significant transformation that positions us for long-term sustainable success. With the support of Brookfield, Westinghouse will continue to build on its legacy of leading the nuclear industry. Our focus is on strengthening the business, capitalizing on our global footprint and excelling in client service and innovation,” said Westinghouse President & CEO José Emeterio Gutiérrez.


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PostPosted: Aug 08, 2018 3:02 pm 
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Significant progress made on Vogtle 3 & 4 construction

Southern Co. to absorb $1.1B in added Vogtle costs

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Southern Co. will absorb $1.1 billion in additional pre-tax costs for its Plant Vogtle nuclear expansion project, the company said in financial disclosures early today. The costs include $700 million in additional subcontractor costs and an additional construction contingency estimate for nuclear reactors, which Southern's Georgia Power Co. unit is building with a group of public power companies. Georgia Power recorded the pre-tax charge of $1.1 billion, or $800 million after taxes, for the quarter, ending June 30.

The company's decision to eat millions of dollars in costs associated with a large power plant is a bitter reminder to investors of its next-generation coal project in Mississippi. Southern took back-to-back quarterly losses amounting to billions of dollars with the Kemper County energy facility because of a settlement with Mississippi utility regulators. Unlike Kemper, Southern does not own the technology associated with Vogtle. This is also the first year that the company's nuclear unit and Georgia Power are fully in control of the project. This means the utilities can no longer point fingers at others if there are problems.

The additional $700 million in higher capital costs for Vogtle stems from finalizing contracts with Bechtel Corp. and more than 60 subcontractors, labor productivity rates and craft labor incentives, Southern reported in its 10-Q filing. Project management, oversight and engineering support have also added costs, the report said. Vogtle's new revised capital and construction cost forecast for its 45.7 percent of the nuclear project is now $8.4 billion, up from $7.3 billion. This is based on a newly revised cost-to-complete estimate from Southern Nuclear, the company said.


Southern Co. Earnings Hurt by Cost Overruns at Nuclear-Power Plant


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PostPosted: Aug 12, 2018 4:08 pm 
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Progress at Vogtle, but cost forecast rises


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PostPosted: Aug 15, 2018 11:08 am 
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Why Georgia Power's nuclear project could survive the November election


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