Even after two South Carolina utilities backed out of two planned nuclear reactors, South Carolina’s senior senator is determined to see the nuclear industry take off in the Palmetto State.
Lindsey Graham said Tuesday he wants the federal government to do what it can to get the V.C. Summer plant in Fairfield County back up and running – and says state officials should be willing to shake up the state-owned utility Santee Cooper if that’s what it takes to get there.
“I’m going to work with Gov. McMaster,” Graham told reporters on Tuesday. “I told him if he needs to sell Santee Cooper, to sell it.”
Graham has said he worries the collapse of could be the end of a potential “nuclear renaissance” in America.
State-backed utility company Santee Cooper and SCE&G announced earlier this month they would drop the $14 billion project in the face of rising costs, delays and the bankruptcy of the main contractor Westinghouse.
The two reactors have been under construction for nine years. Even after the project shut down, S.C. power customers will still foot the cost of construction.
Graham is pushing for the Senate to extend production tax credits for nuclear projects. Already approved by the House, the bill provide billions of dollars to the South Carolina project and two Georgia reactors still under construction.
“I don’t know what the federal government can do,” Graham said, but promised to work to find a new contractor that would be able to take over from bankrupted Westinghouse and finish the project.
“I don’t want to pay for a hole in the ground,” Graham said.