South Carolina Public Service Commission Set to Hear SCE&G’s “Motion to Dismiss” Complaint on Failed V.C. Summer Nuclear Reactor Project
COLUMBIA, S.C. – The South Carolina Public Service Commission (PSC) has set December 13, 2017 as the date for a “motion to dismiss” hearing on a complaint brought by Friends of the Earth and the Sierra Club concerning the nuclear reactor construction debacle in South Carolina.
The utility responsible for the failed nuclear project, South Carolina Electric & Gas (SCE&G), has requested that the Friends of the Earth/Sierra Club complaint of June 22, 2017 be dismissed. That complaint, filed on behalf of Friends of the Earth and Sierra Club members – but also on behalf of the public – seeks to reclaim ratepayer money wasted on the failed V.C. Summer nuclear reactor construction project and aims to force SCE&G to pursue clean energy alternatives.
The order on the complaint, in Docket 2017-207-E, sets a hearing date of Wednesday, December 13, 2017, at 10:30 a.m. at the PSC office in Columbia, SC. The order can be seen here:
“We will fight hard to make sure that our complaint is not dismissed and that the issues of recovery of money wasted on the project and the pursuit of alternative energy are heard in full before the PSC,” said Tom Clements, senior adviser with Friends of the Earth. “Given that public opinion in South Carolina is overwhelming on our side, we urge SCE&G to stop resisting the public’s right to have a full hearing on how the reactor construction debacle developed and why it was not halted years ago.”
On October 4, the PSC issued an order allowing discovery of documents to proceed but SCE&G continues to drag its feet and is failing to comply with the order. Friends of the Earth/Sierra Club are seeking documents which could reveal at what point SCE&G was aware that the project was likely to fail. (See second discovery request of October 10 linked here.) According to Friends of the Earth, SCE&G’s lack of compliance with the discovery process reveals that SCE&G still has little intention in fully complying with PSC orders and such lack of compliance must not be tolerated.
The project was only halted on July 31, 2017, but Friends of the Earth and the Sierra Club have been sounding the alarm about construction problems, cost overruns and schedule delays since the project’s inception in 2008. Those concerns were swept under the rug by the PSC and the S.C. Office of Regulatory Staff, thus causing harm not only to SCE&G ratepayers but the credibility of those regulatory agencies.
Other hearings of note will take place soon at the PSC on the aborted nuclear project, on which $9 billion was wasted. On November 9, SCE&G will present a briefing to the PSC on the status of abandoned materials now at the V.C. Summer site. On December 12, two hearings will be held on recovery of money now being collected via the SCE&G monthly bill on the project. Almost 20 percent of the monthly bill is going to financing costs for the terminated project and the ORS is seeking to halt collection of that money, which amounts to about $37 million a month from SCE&G customers.
Aerial photos released by Friends of the Earth on October 24 reveal that the V.C. Summer site is littered with abandoned commodities and the reactor components are exposed to the weather, underscoring that restart of the project is no longer possible. (See Friends of the Earth news release: Unprotected Commodities, Empty Parking Lots, and Abandoned Steam Generators litter SCE&G’s VC Summer Nuclear Site
Other key dates in the on-going chaos surrounding the V.C. Summer project include the filing of a SCE&G quarterly construction report by November 14 and notification by SCE&G to the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission about the status of the reactor construction licenses by December 15, 2017.