South Carolina Electric & Gas (SCE&G) now plans to complete the two AP1000 reactors under construction at VC Summer in South Carolina in 2019 and 2020 amid rises in capital costs. These costs have, however, been partly offset by favourable financial conditions, the company said.

SCE&G, a subsidiary of Scana Corporation, stated the revised target dates in a petition it filed with the Public Service Commission of South Carolina on 12 March. Completion of units 2 and 3 is now expected in June 2019 and June 2020 — about six months later than previously expected.

The two Westinghouse AP1000 units are being built for SCE&G and Santee Cooper by a consortium of Westinghouse Electric Company and Chicago Bridge & Iron (CB&I). SCE&G currently holds 55% of the project but agreed in January 2014 to acquire a further 5% share in the finished plant from Santee Cooper taking its share to 60%. Construction began on both units in 2013.

Scana chairman and CEO Kevin Marsh said that substantial progress had been made on both units. Some 85% of the major equipment for unit 2 has been received on site, the containment vessel bottom heads of both units have been set, and all three of the steel rings that comprise the vertical walls of unit 2’s containment vessel have been completed or are near completion. Nevertheless, he said, the company was “not pleased” with the delays.

“These delays and related cost increases are principally due to design and fabrication issues associated with the production of submodules used in construction of the units”, Marsh said, adding that negotiations were ongoing with Westinghouse and CB&I regarding the responsibility for delay costs. “With a construction project of this scale we knew there would be challenges along the way”, he said.

SCE&G’s submission to the public service commission includes approximately $698 million in additional capital costs, of which $539 million is associated with the delays and other contested costs. Previous estimates had placed SCE&G’s share of additional capital costs at about $660 million. The total capital cost for SCE&G’s share of the project is now estimated at around $5.2 billion.

However, while some of the contractual project construction costs have increased, the project is benefitting from other financial changes. Lower inflation rates and interest rates than anticipated in initial projections and estimates, as well as tax credits, are expected to offset the ultimate costs to customers, according to Scana.

Scana anticipates the Public Service Commssion’s ruling on its updated schedules by 12 September.

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