SCE&G conducted the first media tour of the V.C. Summer Nuclear Station in three years on Wednesday, and company officials said much has changed at the Fairfield County site.
The landscape certainly has changed at the nuclear plant in three years, with components of some of the plant’s most critical future nuclear operations now visible above ground.
Directed by a new lead construction contractor, Texas-based Fluor Corporation, workers at the Fairfield County plant last month put the reactor vessel for the Unit 2 production plant in place in the containment building, the first such vessel placed at a new nuclear production plant in the United States in 30 years, the utility said.
In April, workers put the bottom ring of the containment vessel in place for the site’s planned Unit 3 reactor. Both are key milestones in the plant’s construction.
The site also has put in place the four critical cooling units for the Unit 2 reactor, and work is progressing on the Unit 3 cooling system and other plant components.
Earlier this month, SCE&G increased the projected net cost of the plant by nearly $1 billion.
“This is a large project, a massive project, and a project of this nature, you’re going to have some challenges and issues,” said Kevin Marsh, CEO of SCANA, the parent company of South Carolina Electric & Gas Co. “We’ve had challenges and issues. Some of those have been on the cost side. The cost of the whole project for SCE&G and Santee Cooper has gone from $11.4 billion to $13.8 billion, or about a 21 percent increase.”
Marsh said the nuclear project is still right for South Carolina. “I feel as strongly today – probably even stronger today than I did back in 2008 – that this is the solution for us for a clean energy future.”
SCE&G and Santee Cooper, which owns 45 percent of the plant, said the long-term benefits of nuclear power would eventually overcome short-term cost increases as the state gets a long-term solution to clean, affordable electric energy for decades to come.
Both of the new reactors are expected to be completed by 2020.
Roddie Burris: 803-771-8398