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South Carolina nuclear project in doubt, as Toshiba bankruptcy looms

Reports of impending Toshiba bankruptcy raise new doubts about S.C. nuclear project, The Post and Courier, By David Wren, May 11, 2017 

The utilities building new reactors at a Midlands nuclear plant aren’t saying what impact a potential Toshiba Corp. bankruptcy filing could have on the troubled construction project, even as more questions are being raised about the Japanese conglomerate’s financial health……..Toshiba’s business partners told The Wall Street Journal that they are bracing for a bankruptcy filing that could wipe out many of the Tokyo firm’s commitments, including a guarantee to pay up to $1.7 billion in cost overruns at the V.C. Summer Nuclear Station in Jenkinsville…….
The utilities must make a decision by June 26 whether to build one or both of the reactors or scrap the plan entirely. Santee Cooper’s board of directors met in a private session Wednesday to get legal advice on the project but took no action…….
The utilities also are counting on an extension of federal tax credits for new nuclear projects to keep V.C. Summer alive. Those credits expire at the end of 2020, and it’s not certain the two reactors — which are only about one-third complete, according to a filing with the S.C. Public Service Commission — will be online by then. An effort to extend the tax credit deadline has gotten little traction in Congress.

“It is very, very important to the viability,” Jimmy Addison, SCANA’s chief financial officer, said of the tax credits during a conference call with analysts last month.

Meanwhile, Georgia Power, the nation’s only other utility adding new nuclear generation, could make a decision as early as Friday whether to finish two reactors under construction at its Plant Vogtle near Augusta. Westinghouse is the contractor on that project, where Toshiba has guaranteed $3.7 billion in payments. An interim agreement to keep work on track at Vogtle expires Friday but could be extended.

Georgia Power spokesman John Kraft told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution that the utility “will take every action available to hold Westinghouse and Toshiba accountable for their financial responsibilities” even if the parent company files for bankruptcy protection.

Like V.C. Summer, the Vogtle project is behind schedule and over budget to the tune of about $3 billion……..

The nearly decade-long V.C. Summer project has been beset by financial and construction problems. The current cost estimate for the reactors is 21.6 percent higher than an original $11.4 billion price tag, and analysts say the eventual cost could balloon to $19 billion if both reactors are built…….


May 12, 2017 - Posted by | business and costs, USA

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