The News That Matters about the Nuclear Industry Fukushima Chernobyl Mayak Three Mile Island Atomic Testing Radiation Isotope

Revelations that Westinghouse knew of nuclear reactor problems

Sounding new nuclear alarms Westinghouse knew, as far back as 2011, that its designs for two new nuclear reactors in South Carolina were virtually guaranteed to face construction delays and serious cost overruns.

A shocking document published on Friday by The Post and Courier reveals that a Westinghouse engineer raised several alarms about the viability of the reactor plans just two years after construction began.

Worse, it suggests that Westinghouse officials all but ignored the conclusions and proceeded with construction on the now abandoned reactors anyway.

“The AP1000 Design is not complete, although it is currently under construction,” reads the document. “This virtually assures large numbers of changes will occur to both systems and structures.”

The author estimated that related delays could cost as much as $300 million in “claims which will be difficult to defend.”

The report also drew attention to the fact that Westinghouse chose not to require a “professional engineer seal” on plans for the reactors, which could call into question both the designs’ legal status and whether they could be safely built.

That particular flaw, and the existence of the report, were both documented in a September article by The Post and Courier.

If state lawmakers and officials can prove that SCANA or Santee Cooper were aware of Westinghouse’s own internal concerns about the nuclear project as far back as 2011, it would be the most damning piece of evidence yet that the utilities acted imprudently in continuing to funnel money into the new reactors at customer expense.

Today, The Post and Courier is publishing a thorough investigation not just of the failure of the two South Carolina reactors, but of a number of other projects in other states that have cost electric ratepayers tens of billions of dollars.

The report paints a troubling picture of money and influence wielded to shape public policy that benefits electric utilities at the cost of their customers.

In South Carolina, the 2007 Base Load Review Act paved the way for a $9 billion nuclear disaster that could impact hundreds of thousands of ratepayers for the next six decades. The law passed with near unanimous support at the Statehouse.

At least 11 states have similar pieces of legislation. That leaves millions of people nationwide at risk of similarly devastating economic impacts.

Even if Westinghouse never mentioned its concerns to SCANA or Santee Cooper officials, the two South Carolina power companies certainly knew that they were facing problems. Cost overruns and delays plagued the project almost from the start.

Then in 2015, engineering firm Bechtel produced an alarming audit that raised numerous red flags about construction schedules, design flaws and other potentially fatal problems. But work continued and utility officials publicly touted the project’s progress.

That shameful duplicity insults the electric ratepayers of South Carolina, who are paying higher rates for the project, and are faced with years more without state intervention. The situation must be rectified by state lawmakers, regulatory officers and Gov. Henry McMaster when the Legislature returns to session in January.

And as today’s report confirms, other states should take notice.


December 11, 2017 - Posted by | secrets,lies and civil liberties, USA

No comments yet.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: