Duke Energy kills nuke project, citing Plant Vogtle contractor’s bankruptcy


Duke Energy Corp. said it wants to cancel a planned nuclear plant in South Carolina, citing the bankruptcy of a key contractor whose troubles also have affected Georgia’s Plant Vogtle project.

In filings to the North Carolina Utilities Commission, the Charlotte-based utility requested approval to cancel the project. Duke Energy also asked for a rate hike to recover $368 million spent on planning and early construction work, according to the Charlotte Business Journal.

“Risks and uncertainties to initiating construction on the Lee Nuclear project have become too great and cancellation of the project is the best option for customers,” Duke said in a statement.

The utility said it cannot cancel the project without the agency’s approval.

Duke’s move follows the decision late last month by two utilities, SCANA Corp. and Santee Cooper, to pull the plug on a South Carolina nuclear project because of rising costs and the bankruptcy of Westinghouse Electric, the supplier of the nuclear reactors.

Meanwhile, by Thursday, Georgia Power and its parent firm, Atlanta-based Southern Company, are expected to turn in their cost analysis and recommendation to state regulators on whether to complete the much-delayed, over-budget Plant Vogtle project to build two new reactors near Augusta.

All three projects were to use Westinghouse’s AP-1000 reactors. Southern Co. once planned to be a minority partner in Duke’s nuclear plant as well, but the Atlanta company eventually pulled out.

Duke got approval for its project more than a decade ago but has not progressed as far — or spent as much — on the plan to build the nuclear plant near Gaffney, S.C.

The company had planned to use the plant to supply power to customers in both North and South Carolina.

SCANA and Santee Cooper have spent about $9 billion on their expansion of the V.C. Summer plant.

The Plant Vogtle project was already over three years behind schedule and more than $3 billion over budget when Westinghouse filed bankruptcy in late March.

Southern recently disclosed preliminary estimates indicating that disruptions from the bankruptcy will add billions of dollars and years of delays. The tab is now expected to go above $25 billion.

MYAJC.COM: REAL JOURNALISM. REAL LOCAL IMPACT.

AJC Business reporter Russell Grantham keeps you updated on the latest news about major companies, CEOs and public utilities in metro Atlanta and beyond. You'll find more on myAJC.com, including these stories:

Never miss a minute of what's happening in local business news. Subscribe to myAJC.com.

In other Business news:



Reader Comments ...


Next Up in Business

Kempner: Ignore call from boss? Georgia shifts on distracted driving
Kempner: Ignore call from boss? Georgia shifts on distracted driving

Georgia’s new distracted driving rules are confusing and watered down, but they give Georgians a legal excuse not to work in their cars and to ignore calls from bosses and customers. Some workaholics won’t take the hint. Not when they spend all that time brewing in Atlanta’s traffic. Not when plenty of employees and business owners...
Pilotless air taxis now flying openly in New Zealand
Pilotless air taxis now flying openly in New Zealand

Ride in a pilotless flying taxi, anyone? Larry Page’s Kitty Hawk has been testing such a vehicle in New Zealand since late last year and is coming out of stealth mode, the Silicon Valley company announced recently. “The dreamers from California met the visionaries from New Zealand,” Kitty Hawk said in a press release that lauds New...
Great finds from the 2018 WPPI trade show
Great finds from the 2018 WPPI trade show

The 2018 WPPI trade show, for veteran or begging wedding and portrait photographers, was held recently in Las Vegas. As usual the trade show portion of the event brought out companies introducing new innovative products to help photographers to do their job. Hahnemühle showed customers their natural white cotton printing canvas Cézanne...
The future, where robots make your latte and shopping is like gaming
The future, where robots make your latte and shopping is like gaming

AUSTIN, Texas — At South by Southwest, as entrepreneurs and celebrities mingled to discuss the future of tech, a lot of the hype focused on attention-grabbing projects such as flying cars. But there also were ideas on display with a more practical bent — projects that could get into consumers’ hands sooner. Displayed were prototypes...
CNET: Top phones that have great cameras
CNET: Top phones that have great cameras

The quality of pictures you can get from your phone and the convenience of having it always at easy reach have rendered standalone cameras all but obsolete. These four phones are among the best of the best CNET has found in phones we’ve reviewed in the last year. ——— Apple iPhone X Product Review: https://www.cnet.com/products/apple-iphone-x/review/#ftag=CAD187281f...
More Stories