COLUMBIA, SC – Sen. Sean Bennett (R-Dorchester) has been tabbed to serve on a special senate committee to investigate the failure of the VC Summer Nuclear Facility. The committee has been granted the broad authority to review all aspects of the project and the chain of decisions made by the management of SCE&G and Santee Cooper, the governmental actions of the Public Service Commission and the Office of Regulatory Staff, and the role of Westinghouse and its parent company Toshiba. The committee is also charged with review of all relevant statutes, including the Base Load Review Act, those related to Santee Cooper, the Public Service Commission, and the Office of Regulatory Staff.
Sen. Bennett stated, "The VC Summer nuclear project is an example of failure by every party involved. The public, who depend on affordable and reliable energy, has been let down and it is incumbent upon us to fully investigate this failure."
While much of the attention following the scuttling announcement has surrounded the financial fallout to ratepayers, and rightfully so, Bennett is also concerned about the future. "Nuclear power is an essential component of a diversified, stable energy policy for South Carolina and the nation," said Bennett. "We cannot simply walk away from this project, without answers and a plan for the future needs of South Carolina and her ratepayers."
On July 31st of this year Santee Cooper and SCE&G, partners in the VC Summer nuclear facility expansion, announced that they would not continue with the project. The decision came nearly a decade after work first began on the expansion. The project, which was plagued with delays and cost overruns, was to have been generating power to South Carolinians by 2018. Most recent estimates however indicated the project completion was pushed back to 2024.
While a date for the first meeting of this special committee has not yet been determined, it is expected to convene soon.