South Carolina governor says all or part of Santee Cooper is up for sale
- South Carolina public utility Santee Cooper is for sale, according to The Post & Courier, which reported the state's governor and the utility are separately pursuing the idea in an effort to restart work on the V.C. Summer nuclear expansion.
- The list of possible buyers includes powerhouse utility names from the region: Charlotte's Duke Energy, Southern Power in Atlanta, and Dominion Energy in Virginia, according to the news outlet.
- Santee Cooper owns 45% of the nuclear expansion, but last month, the utility's board voted unanimously to halt construction. Officials said the cost to complete the project could reach over $25 billion.
It's been less than three weeks since Santee Cooper said it would abandon the states's nuclear expansion, but already state officials are looking for a way to revive the project. Last week, South Carolina lawmakers called for a special session to address the abandonment of the Summer nuclear project. Now Gov. Henry McMaster appears to be is joining to the efforts.
"Everything's on the table. ... I have told these power companies that it is for sale, some or all," McMaster said, according to the news outlet.
None of the utilities McMaster mentioned as showing interest commented to the Post and Courier.
Santee Cooper opted to close down the Summer nuclear expansion after costs potentially grew to more than $25 billion to complete work. SCANA Corp., which owns 55% of the project, followed suit with plans to cease construction as well. However, SCANA later indicated it would have continued work on one of the two reactors, had Santee Cooper remained on board.
The two-reactor expansion of the Summer plant was supposed to be completed by 2017 and 2018, respectively. But construction crews ran into problems with Westinghouse Electric's AP1000 reactor design, causing delays and cost overruns that led the nuclear developer to file for bankruptcy in March. The project has been in the works for a decade.
The decision to shut down work came after a commitment from Toshiba to contribute $2.2 billion toward the plant's completion. With the Summer units out of the running, Southern Co.'s Vogtle nuclear project is the only one currently under construction, and utility officials are expected to decide in August whether to terminate construction.
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