Energy companies in the US have cancelled plans to build a pair of nuclear power plants – after Toshiba's Westinghouse Electric Company collapsed.
SCE&G and Santee Cooper in South Carolina said they will walk away from erecting two new reactors at the VC Summer Nuclear Station near the town of Jenkinsville.
Announced in 2008, the VC Summer station expansion was seen as one of the first projects in a new push to reestablish nuclear power in the US for the 21st century. The two new units were beset by delays and had most recently been rescheduled to go online by 2021.
The fatal blow to the project, the two utilities said, was the March bankruptcy announcement by Westinghouse – the contractor chosen to lead the design and construction of the new reactors. With Westinghouse on its knees, the project was deemed too expensive to complete and therefore doomed.
"This decision follows the March 2017 bankruptcy filing of Westinghouse, which eliminated the benefits of our fixed-price contract to our customers, investors, and other stakeholders," the utility companies said in scrapping their plans.
"It also follows months of SCE&G and Santee Cooper each comprehensively evaluating our options to determine the most prudent path forward for the jointly owned project."
A second Westinghouse US nuclear project in Waynesboro, Georgia, will continue with a different company heading up construction.
The South Carolina power companies said they plan to use money from an anticipated $5.85bn settlement with Toshiba to recoup some of the billions spent on the project.
Westinghouse's bankruptcy may end up costing Toshiba even more very soon, as the Japanese electronics giant is said to be considering a recommendation to make its own bankruptcy filing because of the more-than $5bn deficit between its liabilities and assets. ®