The Progressive


A project of Common Dreams

For Immediate Release

Tom Clements (in South Carolina), 803-834-3084 (office), 803-240-7268 (mobile)
Nick Berning (in Washington, D.C.), 202-222-0748

S.C. Nuclear Reactor Costs Jump by More than $1 Billion

Taxpayers, electricity consumers stuck with skyrocketing bill for two new reactors


In a dramatic revelation, South Carolina Electric & Gas has
filed documents with the South Carolina Public Service Commission that
project a more than $1 billion increase in the construction cost of its
two-reactor nuclear project in the state.

The utility's filing, which was first made public Monday, shows that
the projected "gross construction" cost for its 55 percent share of the
project has jumped $561 million, from $6.31 billion to $6.88 billion.
The South Carolina Public Service Authority (Santee Cooper) is
responsible for the remaining 45 percent of the project, so the overall
project cost appears to have increased by more than $1 billion.

"This eye-popping leap in the cost of these reactors could send a
shock all the way to Wall Street," said Tom Clements, Southeastern
Nuclear Campaign Coordinator with Friends of the Earth. "Warnings of
massive cost increases and uncertainties appear to be coming true and
should lead to reconsideration of the project. These costs will
ultimately be borne by South Carolina families who could see their
taxes and electric bills skyrocket. When you consider the increasing
costs along with the considerable safety risks from the dangerous
radioactive waste these reactors would produce, it's clear that
investment in conservation and efficiency and in clean energy sources
like wind and solar power is the better way to go."

Besides dramatically increasing its cost estimate for the project,
the utility indicated in its filing that its schedule for approval of
the reactors by the federal Nuclear Regulatory Commission has already
slipped several months.

Friends of the Earth formally intervened against the utility's
application for state-level approval of the project, and a three-week
hearing was held in December. The state Public Service Commission ruled
in favor of the utility in February, but Friends of the Earth intends
to challenge the decision in court.

As the South Carolina reactor project is among the first in the
country to move forward in decades, its difficulties could be
indicative of problems likely to arise with other nuclear projects,
Clements said.


1. SCE&G's "Quarterly Report Ending March 31, 2009 Concerning
Construction of V.C. Summer Nuclear Station Units 2 and 3" - dated May
15 and posted on the PSC website on May 18:

SCE&G nuclear reactor docket (2008-196-E) on PSC website:

Friends of the Earth fights for a more healthy and just world. Together we speak truth to power and expose those who endanger the health of people and the planet for corporate profit. We organize to build long-term political power and campaign to change the rules of our economic and political systems that create injustice and destroy nature.

(202) 783-7400