Summer plant construction progress continues

08 May 2017

The VC Summer nuclear construction project is now over 64% complete, South Carolina Electricity & Gas (SCG&E) said in its latest progress report to the state's Public Service Commission. The substantial completion dates for the two AP1000 units are currently unchanged from previous timelines but are to be re-evaluated in light of Westinghouse's recent bankruptcy filing.

The Summer construction site, pictured in January (Image: SCE&G)

Construction of Summer unit 2 began in March 2013, with work starting on unit 3 in November 2013. The units are targeted for substantial completion in April 2020 for unit 2 and December 2020 for unit 3. Scana subsidiary SCE&G is required to make quarterly reports to the PSC under the provisions of the state's Base Load Review Act (BLRA), which applies to the construction of power plants by all regulated electric utilities in the state.

Recent schedule information from Westinghouse suggests that the project remains on track to achieve the substantial completion dates within the 18 months contingency period provided in the order establishing milestones for BLRA monitoring purposes, SCE&G said. "[T]hese dates will be re-evaluated in light of [Westinghouse's] historical inability to achieve forecasted productivity and work for efficiency levels and in light of [Westinghouse's] bankruptcy filing]," it added.

As of 31 March, the project's engineering phase was 96.0% complete, with procurement 88.2% complete, construction 34.3% complete and start-up activities 8.6% complete. These figures are weighted and aggregated to deliver the total percentage completion of 64.1%. During the quarter, the last of the project's four steam generators and two of unit 2's four reactor coolant pumps (RCPs) were received on site. The remaining RCPs for unit 2 are completed and awaiting shipment, while the RCPs for unit 3 are undergoing final assembly and testing.

SCE&G told the PSC it is still evaluating whether or not to complete one or both of the units following Westinghouse's 29 March bankruptcy filing. The company told the PSC it expects to complete its evaluation, which will assess the relative merits of completing both units, cancelling or deferring both units, or completing unit 2 and cancelling or deferring unit 3, during the second quarter of this year.

The company said it has not yet validated Westinghouse's revised estimate that it will cost about $829 million more to complete the units than Westinghouse will be entitled to charge SCE&G under the EPC contract for the project. Damages that could be claimed under the EPC contract are capped at a level of 25% of payments already made at the time that a breach of contract occurs.

"The cap currently stands at approximately $940 million, which exceeds the amount of additional cost reflected in [Westinghouse's] unvalidated estimate," the company said. Westinghouse's payment obligations under the EPC contract are guaranteed directly by its parent company, Toshiba.

Westinghouse is willing to continue to support the project in areas such as engineering, procurement, testing, licensing, start-up, cyber security and records administration, SCE&G said.

"SCE&G is analysing what support [Westinghouse] might provide going forward and what resources would be required to continue the project without [Westinghouse] in the lead role," the company said. An assessment of damages due from Westinghouse for the anticipated breach of the EPC contract, and Westinghouse and Toshiba's ability to pay for those damages, would be an important component of its cost analysis for the completion of the units, it said.

Researched and written
by World Nuclear News