Agreement on ownership of Summer equipment

02 September 2020

Santee Cooper and Westinghouse have finalised terms of a settlement over ownership of equipment associated with the VC Summer units 2 and 3 nuclear power plant project in South Carolina, abandoned in July 2017. The terms give Santee Cooper full ownership of and the ability to begin marketing all non-nuclear equipment immediately.

Summer unit 2's final containment ring was lifted into place in June 2017 (Image: SCE&G)

Construction of units 2 and 3 at the Summer plant began in March and November 2013, respectively. However, the owners of the Summer project - Scana subsidiary South Carolina Electric & Gas Company (SCE&G) and Santee Cooper - decided in August 2017 to abandon construction of the two AP1000s, following reactor vendor Westinghouse's filing for bankruptcy in March that year.

According to Santee Cooper, which held a 45% share in the project, SCE&G ceded its ownership in the nuclear project equipment through a "forbearance agreement" to Santee Cooper on 13 December, 2018, which was approved by the South Carolina Public Service Commission. In May 2019, Santee Cooper asked a New York bankruptcy court to dismiss Westinghouse's claim of ownership of the same equipment.

Santee Cooper and Westinghouse have now agreed to split the net sales proceeds of the nuclear-related equipment. For major non-installed nuclear equipment, the proceeds will be split 50-50, while for major installed nuclear equipment, Santee Cooper will receive 90% and Westinghouse 10%. For other equipment that could be used in nuclear projects, 67% of proceeds will go to Santee Cooper and 33% to Westinghouse. Santee Cooper has 100% ownership of the remaining project equipment. Westinghouse has responsibility for marketing the nuclear equipment. The marketing and sales effort will last for up to five years.

"Finalising this agreement is a tremendous milestone, because it means Santee Cooper can move quickly to sell thousands of pieces of equipment ourselves, as well as support Westinghouse's efforts to sell the nuclear equipment," said Santee Cooper President and CEO Mark Bonsall. "We are already planning next steps, and Santee Cooper's proceeds from equipment sales will be used to shore up our rate freeze and contribute to our long-term plan to retire debt."

Researched and written by World Nuclear News