JENKINSVILLE — Construction at VC Summer Units 2 and 3 in Fairfield County is facing further delays, according to SCANA conference call on Monday.
The $9.8 billion nuclear construction project in Jenkinsville is facing nearly a year long construction completion date.
SCANA executives said the delay comes in the aftermath of preliminary information received from the Consortium indicating that the substantial completion of Unit 2 is expected to occur in late 2018 or the first half of 2019 and that the substantial completion date of Unit 3 might be 12 months later.
A substantial completion date is when the Consortium will turn the plant over to SCE&G and it will be ready for operational use.
Time between substantial completion and commercial operation was not specified by SCE&G Chief Operating Officer Steve Byrne, but he noted it would be determined by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.
South Carolina’s Public Service Commission approved the initial order authorizing construction of two Westinghouse AP1000 reactor units in February 2009. The order originally called for Unit 2 to be ready for commercial operation as early as April 2016 and the second to follow about a year later.
Last summer, SCE&G told state regulators that completion dates would be pushed back 10 months due to delays in the delivery and manufacturing of sub-modules from the Lake Charles, La., facility of Chicago Bridge & Iron, the project’s contractor.
At that time, SCE&G informed the commission that completion dates would be delayed until late 2017 or early 2018.
Byrne again noted that the main driving force behind the construction delay rested on the shoulders of the project’s contractor.
“From our perspective the culprit in the delay has been the structural modules coming from Lake Charles,” he said Monday.
The anticipated schedule for substantial completion of Unit 2 has been pushed back to late 2017 or early 2018, with Unit 3 scheduled for completion about a year after.
SCANA CFO Jimmy Addison said the delay information on the nuclear construction schedule was not received prior to the second quarter earnings call or it would have been discussed at that time.
The Consortium began working on a full baseline construction schedule for Unit 2 and Unit 3 in late 2013.
Byrne noted that the schedule is preliminary and the range of dates does not reflect all the possible mitigation dates nor have they accepted the preliminary timeline.
The Consortium has not provided any cost estimates related to the delay. SCE&G anticipates that the revised schedule and the cost estimate at completion will be finalized in the latter half of 2014.
“The next step for us is to have our team review the information to validate assumptions and work with the Consortium to reconcile any differences,” Byrne said.
After that SCE&G will start a negotiation process on costs and entitlement. Byrne noted that it is his staff’s goal to complete that process by the end of the year.
“Until I get the cost estimate from the Consortium, I will not talk about any cost estimates,” he stated. “We will have to discuss what their assumptions were and what cost they think they might be entitled to and on the other side what we think they are not entitled to. But until my team has an opportunity to go through the entire schedule and I receive a cost estimate from the Consortium, I really will not know what the costs will be.”
Byrne specified that only once his staff is finished with negotiations would they release the costs associated with the construction delay.
Construction has been completed for 100 of the original 146 construction milestones associated with the project. However with the recent construction delay dates, a number of the remaining 46 milestones are now expected to extend beyond the 18-month contingency allowed by the Public Service Commission of South Carolina.
“As a result once the re-baselining and the finalization of the revised schedule are complete we expect to petition the commission for an order to update the construction milestones and capital cost schedules,” Byrne said.
He continued to explain that the Base Review Act (BRA) of the Public Service Commission would grant the petition as long as it is determined that the change is not due to any error on SCE&G’s part.
“From here on out we will have to petition the Public Service Commission to allow the construction schedule and costs estimate, but I have to have those before I can petition them to approve them,” Byrne stated.