Nuclear power – After blowing $10 billion, power companies give up on 2 more nuke plants
The U.S. nuclear “renaissance” goes the way critics said it likely would – down the tubes.
The South Carolina Electric & Gas and Santee Cooper have abandoned two Westinghouse reactors they spent $10 billion on.
The reactors were supposed to make building nuclear power plants quicker and cheaper, enabling the industry to launch a bunch of new ones. But they have done nothing of the kind:
Most of the 18 nuclear projects pending before the Nuclear Regulatory Commission a decade ago have been aborted or suspended indefinitely. None of the 7 projects the NRC licensed are operational.
Only one is still being built, in Georgia, at a cost of $100 million a month. Southern Company financial documents filed Wednesday say the project, slated to cost $14 billion, could cost $25 billion or more if completed.
The projects in South Carolina and Georgia were already years behind schedule and billions over budget when their shared lead contractor, Westinghouse, declared bankruptcy in March to get out of fixed-price contracts aimed at controlling escalating costs.
South Carolina executives say they were forced to give up after estimated costs, budgeted at $11 billion in 2008, soared beyond $20 billion.
U.S. taxpayers put up $8.4 billion in loan guarantees for the two plants.
(Originally appeared at DailyKos. Image by the Simpsons, Fox TV)