Pike wins switchyard contract for new US units

10 November 2009

The Shaw Group has awarded an engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) contract for a new transmission switchyard and offsite power system for its planned new reactors at the VC Summer power station in South Carolina to Pike Electric Corporation.

VC Summer 2 and 3 (NRC)
How Summer 2 and 3 could look (Image: NRC)

Engineering for the 230 kV switchyard project will begin immediately, with construction due to be completed by the end of 2015, according to Pike chairman and CEO Eric Pike, who said his company was extremely pleased to have been selected. "This EPC award is important for Pike, as it recognizes our full platform of energy solutions and fulfils a strategic goal to participate in the opportunities presented by the renewed interest in US nuclear power," he said.


The award of the switchyard contract would appear to signal a real intent to go ahead with the project to build the two planned AP1000 pressurized water reactors (PWRs) at the site, which is already home to a 966 MWe PWR. South Carolina Electric and Gas (SCE&G), the main subsidiary of Scana Corp, submitted a combined construction and operating licence application for the two new units to the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission in March 2008. Soon afterwards, it signed an EPC contract with the Shaw-Westinghouse AP1000 consortium for the two 1117 MWe reactors. The units, known as Summer 2 and 3, are pencilled in for start-up dates of 2016 and 2019 respectively.
The plant has also been shortlisted as a possible recipient of a federal loan guarantee from the US Department of Energy (DoE). Loan guarantees, which should make it easier for would-be reactor builders to ensure they can raise the finance for new plants, are widely seen as crucial to ensuring the construction of the first wave of new US nuclear units goes ahead. 

The Westinghouse AP1000 selected for the Summer units received design certification from the NRC in 2006, but Westinghouse has subsequently revised the design. The revisions are now undergoing review by the NRC. Two AP1000s are under construction in China, with two more contracted and others planned.

The NRC has to date received COL applications for 26 new nuclear reactors in the USA at 17 different sites. However a COL application does not signal any commitment to build a new plant, and some applicants have since asked NRC to suspend, or partially suspend, work on their applications for various reasons ranging from difficulties in financing to uncertainties over as-yet uncertified reactor designs. Nevertheless, early contracts have been placed for long lead-time components for many of the projects.

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