HOUSTON Jan 25 SCANA Corp's (SCG.N) South
Carolina Electric & Gas utility is stepping back from plans to
pursue a new nuclear reactor as costs skyrocket, a spokesman
said on Friday.
The Columbia, South Carolina-based utility planned to file
an application with nuclear regulators last year but delayed
that action while it studies costs of alternate generation
options, said spokesman Robert Yanity.
With material and construction costs rising for all major
infrastructure projects, including power plants, "we have to
think about our customers," Yanity said. "We are still
supportive of nuclear, but we need to make sure it is the right
In late 2005, SCE&G, along with Santee Cooper, a state
utility, notified the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission that
they intended to seek a license to build and operate two new
reactors at the site of the 966-megawatt V.C. Summer nuclear
station in Fairfield County, about 25 miles northwest of
SCE&G and Santee Coopers are joint owners of the Summer
plant which began commercial operation in 1984.
Utility officials are studying alternatives such as new
natural gas-fired generation or purchased-power options to meet
the need for additional generation before committing to pursuit
of a costly regulatory filing, he said.
Because no new reactors have been built in the U.S. in
nearly three decades, new projects face a variety of obstacles,
including rising costs for materials and a lack of skilled
labor and project management talent, consultants said.
"We hope the next couple of months will give us direction,"
If SCE&G decides to move forward to expand its nuclear
capacity, it will file an application this year to take
advantage of federal incentives for new reactors allowed under
the Energy Policy Act of 2005, Yanity said.
SCE&G set a record for electric consumption on its system
in August while Santee Cooper set a record earlier this month
amid freezing temperatures that exceeded its previous record
set in August.
SCE&G serves 620,000 electric customers while Santee Cooper
supplies power for another 800,000 customers, directly or
through electric co-operatives.
The NRC received four license applications last year, along
with one partial application, and expects filings for as many
as 30 new reactors in the next couple of years.
(Reporting by Eileen O'Grady; Editing by Christian Wiessner)