Fall Quarterly 2017
In a triumph toward true solutions to the environmental crisis, plans for three nuclear power reactors have been cancelled. On July 31, the nuclear power company Scana voted to suspend construction on the half-built V.C. Summer Units 2 and 3 in Jenkinsville, South Carolina. In a desperate attempt to keep the Summer construction alive, Scana requested and was refused $3 billion in aid from Energy Secretary Rick Perry. Then in late August, Duke Energy announced its cancellation of two reactor projects, the William States Lee III Nuclear Station Units 1 and 2 in Gaffney, South Carolina and the Levy County Nuclear Plant Units 1 and 2 in Florida. Not surprisingly, Duke Energy is seeking permission to recover $368 million in pre-construction costs by means of a rate hike of 16.7% for residents in order to get their shareholders off the hook.
Following Westinghouse, Inc.’s declaration of bankruptcy in March, prospects for construction of its reactors has come into serious doubt. Now the fate of the three projects involving six untested Westinghouse “AP1000” reactors has been sealed. The only reactors still under construction in the US are part of another Westinghouse project, Plant Vogtle in Georgia. The owners at Southern Company are expected to announce soon whether construction can continue. The belated cancellations demonstrate, as Scana now admits, that nuclear power is “prohibitively expensive.” — Duke Energy, Aug. 29; Charlotte Business Journal, Aug. 25; Bloomberg, Aug. 11, 2017