Nuclear Plant Overcoming Hurdles

Construction on Unit 2 at the V.C. Summer is expected to be completed in August 2019.

Construction on Unit 2 at the V.C. Summer is expected to be completed in August 2019.

JENKINSVILLE (Nov. 10, 2016) – Since 2008, the V.C. Summer nuclear construction site in Jenkinsville has had a wide range of setbacks. Whether it be delays in product delivery, changes in regulation standards, adjustments in pricing, or engineering and construction challenges, the site has had to continually jump hurdles to keep up with deadlines. Originally an $11.4 billion project, these setbacks have hiked up the overall production price to $13.8 billion. Much of the rising costs sit on taxpayer shoulders.

On Sept. 21, the press was invited to the construction site for the first time in three years to speak with officials and learn about the plant’s recent progress and next steps. With a new team and rejuvenated spirit, the V.C Summer site appears to be back on track to finish strong.

“We’ve been able to beat some challenges, make adjustments to the contract, and continue progress on the project,” Kevin Marsh, Chairman and CEO of SCANA, said. “This is possibly the biggest construction project in the history of South Carolina.”

Now, with the recent addition of the Fluor construction company to the V.C. Summer team, the morale and pace of the project has picked up once more, President and CEO of Santee Cooper Lonnie Carter said. The mantra One Team is displayed all around the premises to encourage a community mindset. Everyone, no matter the position or company, is working for the same goal.

“The concept that Westinghouse wanted was, OK we all have our business relationship and who works for who and that sort of stuff, but together we’re One Team. It’s going to take all of us working together to be successful in this project to achieve the safety, to achieve the quality aspects, to get this plan done on time,” SCANA Vice President of New Nuclear Operations Ron Jones told The Voice.

“We think we have a good team. And, from a confidence standpoint, we think we’re going to be very successful with this team,” Jeffery Archie, Chief Nuclear Officer at SCE&G, told The Voice. “Now we will have challenges along the way. But I also think that we have a very good team in terms of the ability to address challenges.”

The project is making headway as more and more milestones are checked off the list. The second inner protective ring around Unit 2 was placed earlier in September and the third is being prepared for placement. Unit 3 is still under construction, about a year behind Unit 2, but its three inner protective rings are steadily being constructed and finalized. Next comes even more shielding and protective casing until the both Units are completely finished and ready to come online, Alan Torres, Manager of Nuclear Construction, explained to the press.

“We’ve reached a pivot point here on the project,” Carl Churchman, Site Vice President and Project Director of Westinghouse, said. “We are no longer a project that’s just a civil structural project. We are a project that’s installing reactor vessels and reactor cooling systems which are the heart of any nuclear power plant. Later on this year, we will be setting our first new generator along with other major milestones that we have planned for the rest of the year.”

While the progress is steady, the project still has a ways to go. Unit 2 is predicted to come online in August 2019, and Unit 3 in August 2020.