A contract providing details of a troubled $14 billion nuclear construction project in Fairfield County will remain secret – for now.
Westinghouse Electric, the project’s lead contractor, has until Thursday to decide if it wants to keep the contract with SCANA off limits for public inspection, a state hearing officer ruled this week. Depending on how Westinghouse answers, the state Public Service Commission could hold a hearing on whether to open the contract as soon as next week.
Westinghouse, which is in bankruptcy, declined comment Tuesday. If the company opposes releasing the contract, a hearing would be held in June. SCANA subsidiary SCE&G does not oppose releasing the contract to the public.
The state Office of Regulatory Staff has sought to have the contract released. The contract would provide more information about the arrangement between Westinghouse and SCANA over expansion of the V.C Summer nuclear power plant.
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“We need to remove the secrecy from the proceedings,’’ regulatory staff director Dukes Scott said..
The state owned Santee Cooper power company and SCE&G are building two nuclear reactors at V.C. Summer. But the project is behind schedule, over budget and in jeopardy in the wake of Westinghouse’s recent bankruptcy.
Many ratepayers are upset because SCE&G already has hit them with nine rate increases to finance the project. Some say the project should be scrapped to limit the costs.