SCE&G says it will pull license; Dominion Energy announces takeover of SCANA

VC Summer Nuclear Plant, May 2017 | Courtesy of High Flyer

CAYCE, S.C. – Barely two weeks after Fairfield County Council took South Carolina Electric & Gas Company (SCE&G) to court to request an injunction to prevent SCE&G from relinquishing its nuclear license for VC Summer Units 2 and 3, and before a judge could rule on the request, SCE&G filed a formal request with the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) to withdraw the combined operating licenses (COLs) for  the two VC Summer Units.

In addition, on Wednesday, Dominion Energy and SCANA announced that Dominion has instigated a takeover of SCANA which has been vulnerable to takeover as it’s facing financial and regulatory woes due to pursuit by SCE&G of two nuclear reactors that were canceled on July 31, 2017, after a waste of $9 billion. (For the complete breaking news on this announced takeover, go to blythewoodonline.com.)

SCE&G is still expected to file a formal abandoned nuclear project cost recovery petition with the South Carolina Public Service Commission on or about Jan. 8, 2018, as the company announced Dec. 28. That petition will provide important details on Dominion’s proposed deal.

“This notification (Dec. 28, 2017) is consistent with our plans for abandonment and helps to ensure we qualify for a tax deduction in 2017 so that we can capture approximately $2 billion for our customers to offset the costs of the new nuclear project,” said incoming SCANA CFO Iris Griffin.

In its notification to the NRC, SCE&G stated that it has irrevocably abandoned its interests in the VCS Units 2 and 3, ceased all completion and preservation activities, and has limited work at the plant to only those actions required to place the site in a safe condition, terminate construction and close active permits.

SCE&G has offered to cede its abandoned interest in the VCS Units 2 and 3 to Santee Cooper, for no consideration. If, prior to the NRC approval of this request to withdraw the COLs, Santee Cooper chooses to seek to become the sole licensee for the project, SCE&G officials said they will support an application to the NRC to transfer the licenses to Santee Cooper.

“Fairfield County is aware of SCE&G’s desire to withdraw the licenses for VC Summer Units 2 and 3 so it can take a tax write-off for 2017,” said attorney John McKenzie, one of two law firms representing the County in its legal action against SCE&G.

“The County is also aware that Santee Cooper, by letter of December 15, 2017, has yet to consent to the surrender of these licenses, and apparently cannot do so until its board meets in late January,” McKenzie said. “We also understand that there are interested parties who might purchase Santee Cooper. We would hope that SCE&G would not return the licenses in question until all options to restart this project have been explored.  Otherwise, SCE&G will have taken additional steps to show its bad faith toward both the citizens of Fairfield County and Santee Cooper, which also furnishes power to electric cooperatives serving the citizens of Fairfield County.”

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