State regulators want answers from SCANA Corp. about whether valuable parts of its abandoned V.C. Summer nuclear project will be left to ruin.
Meanwhile, the $9 billion project’s state-owned minority partner, Santee Cooper, says it will begin protecting the assets.
That pledge comes a day after state senators were told SCANA – the majority owner of two unfinished power reactors – has not covered or maintained valuable equipment at the Fairfield County site since construction was halted on July 31.
That revelation alarmed S.C. lawmakers and other stakeholders, some of whom want the unfinished reactors preserved in case they can be finished in the future.
In a Thursday letter, the state Office of Regulatory Staff urged the S.C. Public Service Commission to summon SCANA officials to explain theirs plans for the Fairfield County site.
Regulatory Staff director Dukes Scott said the Public Service Commission might be the only state agency that can require SCANA to preserve the nuclear components.
“We’ve never had anything like this happen, so we’re going to be fumbling around a little,” Scott said.
However, Santee Cooper says it will not let the parts go to ruin.
In a letter Thursday, the state-owned utility said a maintenance company has been retained to preserve the site for one year.
The letter from interim Santee Cooper chief executive Jim Brogdon said work will begin in early November. The utility does not have a cost estimate for preserving the project, a spokeswoman said.
The project’s owners — Santee Cooper and SCANA — also have scheduled a Nov. 2 meeting in Columbia “to determine the willingness, responsibilities and commitment to preventative maintenance of the owners going forward,” Brogdon wrote.
SCANA has worked to make the construction site safe and preserve “the equipment and materials that can be salvaged,” spokesman Eric Boomhower wrote in a statement, earlier Thursday morning.
“The fact remains that we have decided to abandon the project in the best interest of our customers,” he continued. “That decision creates an opportunity for a tax deduction that will help offset approximately $2 billion in costs to our customers. ... Protecting that benefit for our customers is a top priority for our company.”