SC regulators cite major, continuing construction and design problems at the VC Summer project; NC WARN tells Duke the project could well be abandoned
NC WARN today told new Duke Energy CEO Lynn Good we are astonished that Duke Energy is still considering buying into the VC Summer nuclear construction project after South Carolina regulators recently reiterated earlier warnings that the project is suffering enormous problems despite intensive efforts to correct them.
The VC Summer project is heading down the toilet, and it would be a major corporate blunder for Duke Energy to buy any part of it.
In short, efforts to build twin Westinghouse AP1000 reactors at both Summer and Georgia’s Plant Vogtle are afflicted with myriad design, construction and quality control problems across vital areas of the venture despite years of concerted remedial efforts by owners, key contractors and outside trouble-shooting experts.
Multiple complexities continue to emerge as, in the words of the South Carolina regulators, “challenges to the project.” Both projects are already suffering delays and $100s of millions in overruns, but the SC regulators’ report makes clear that it’s going to keep getting worse.
We also emphasized in our letter to CEO Good that we strongly prefer to work with Duke Energy to avert the climate tipping point by shifting quickly to clean, safe and affordable energy. But if Duke attempts to invest in such a risky corporate leap as VC Summer, we and allies across North Carolina will work very hard – in the regulatory, legal and public arenas – to prevent Duke from gaining approval from the NC Utilities Commission.
As we told Good, “Possibly the contractors can perform a ‘rabbit from hat’ turnaround at either Summer or Vogtle, but that seems far-fetched given that many of these problems have actually grown worse over time despite months and years of remedial efforts by various, well-resourced corporations.”
There is a very strong chance that either or both of these AP1000 projects will be abandoned, as happened with more than 90 US reactor projects in the 1970s – 80s.
* See the letter to CEO Lynn Good
(link to the SC OSR report is at the end of the letter)