The “New Generation” nuclear power plant construction projects at V.C. Summer and Plant Vogtle have asked the Trump administration for help. As you may know, the V.C. Summer Project was abandoned on July 31, 2017 and a decision and announcement concerning continuation of the Plant Vogtle Expansion Project is planned for late August.
The collapse of the V.C. Summer Project could cost S.C. ratepayers billions for the work that ultimately provided no electricity and should a similar decision be reached at the Plant Vogtle Expansion Project, this could signal the end of a nuclear renaissance before it even started.
However, there is movement by political forces, state and federal, to revive the failed project at V. C. Summer and keep the Plant Vogtle Expansion Project moving forward.
Senator Lindsey Graham, R-SC and other lawmakers from both parties are urging Congress to extend the production tax credit, which by itself, would provide billions of dollars to the two projects. The House approved an extension in June but a vote by the Senate has not been brought to the floor; Graham is pushing for a Senate vote when Congress returns from its August recess. Extension of the tax production credits is critical, because it currently requires the plants to be operational by 2020 – a deadline that neither V.C. Summer nor Plant Vogtle could meet.
Besides the production tax credit, nuclear supporters want to see the extension of the Energy Department loan guarantee program. The Plant Vogtle Expansion Project, received an $8.3 billion loan guarantee under the Obama administration – the largest ever issued by the loan program.
V.C. Summer did not receive a loan guarantee, but SCANA did apply for a federal grant worth up to $3 billion just before abandoning the project. SCANA CEO, Kevin Marsh, said he and other executives had very direct discussions with the White House and the Energy Department, including Energy Secretary Rick Perry, explaining how their project was needed in support of national security interests. The Energy Department invited the company to apply for a loan guarantee but the company decided that a loan guarantee would not help their specific situation.