The Perfect Storm tells the true story of how unforeseen weather systems collided to cause untold destruction, plus the loss of a commercial sword fishing vessel, The Andrea Gail, and crew in 1991. Something similar happened with SCE&G’s nuclear plants that were under construction at Jenkinsville:
1) Before the contract was signed, energy demand was forecast to increase by 30 percent to 50 percent by 2020. Midway into the project, the forecast became flat. Storm clouds brewing.
2) Toshiba/Westinghouse changed construction contractors five times. The main problem: Most U.S. nuclear plants were built before 1975, nearly two generations ago, so no one had current expertise. Storm increasing.
3) There was essentially no way (or incentive) for SCE&G to prevent construction delays and overspending. And the Legislature provided no protection for the ratepayers from those dramatic spending increases and schedule delays. Storm intensity approaching Category 5.
A 2007 state law allowed SCE&G to raise rates as construction costs increased. The Public Service Commission is composed of political appointees who have little expertise in the nuclear industry and, it seems, no finance expertise.
In March, Toshiba declared a $9 billion annual loss, and this spring, subsidiary Westinghouse filed for bankruptcy. In August, SCE&G abandoned construction.
The destruction is complete, but the aftermath and cleanup will go on for a long time.