Nearly seven football fields worth of unused nuclear parts and equipment are gathering dust in two SCE&G warehouses, a state utility regulator said Tuesday.
The parts, which the S.C. Office of Regulatory Staff estimates are worth hundreds of millions of dollars, once were destined for two new nuclear reactors under construction at the V.C. Summer Nuclear Station in Fairfield County.
But that project was abandoned last July by SCE&G and the state-owned Santee Cooper utility after they had spent $9 billion on the decadelong project, ruined by construction delays and cost overruns.
Now, the equipment’s future is unknown, as the valves and components sit idle in two massive, off-site storage warehouses leased by the two utilities. The companies are paying nearly $2.5 million per year to lease the warehouses, Santee Cooper said Wednesday.
Never miss a local story.
SCE&G, the nuclear project’s majority owner, has abandoned its interest in the site, seeking a tax write-off. It has proposed Santee Cooper determine what to do with the equipment, so long as the SCANA subsidiary approves any sale worth more than $1 million.
A spokeswoman for Santee Cooper, which owns a 45-percent stake in the project, said the utilities have not yet finished inventorying or appraising the equipment. The state-owned utility is seeking time to evaluate its options for the equipment and the nuclear site, “including resale potential,” spokeswoman Mollie Gore said.
The parts are housed in a 150,000-square-foot warehouse in Blythewood and in a 240,000-square-foot warehouse in West Columbia.
Both buildings are filled with new equipment for the plant, including generator parts, fuel-handling equipment, air-handling equipment, electrical components and valves of all sizes, according to Regulatory Staff.
Last week, state utility regulators walked through the warehouses and abandoned construction site. Regulatory Staff said Tuesday just seven SCE&G employees remain at the Fairfield County site full time, in addition to about roughly 15 employees of the Fluor contract firm and other contractors.
This week, an auction company is expected to finish removing equipment from the Fairfield site that is owned by Westinghouse, the project’s lead contractor, which filed for bankruptcy last March.
Both warehouse leases expire this year, one in August and another in November.
Related stories from S.C.’s nuclear fiasco