COLUMBIA — The nuclear plant debacle shifts to the South Carolina Senate this week as lawmakers continue to weigh how to counteract the $9 billion cancellation of two nuclear reactors at V.C. Summer station in Fairfield County.
Last week, the House voted 119-1 to temporarily halt the $37 million per month that goes to SCANA for the failed nuclear project until the state's courts and utility regulators sort out who should ultimately pay for the financial disaster.
It's to be seen whether the legislation will get a hearing this week in the Senate, where lawmakers pride themselves on being "more deliberative" than their counterparts in the House.
Senators on the powerful Judiciary Committee, however, are set to take up two other resolutions related to the abandoned reactors.
The first would extend how long the state's utility regulators on the Public Service Commission have to review SCANA's handling of the troubled nuclear project.
The second would kick-start the process of replacing three of the current utility commissioners who were responsible for overseeing the nuclear construction over the past decade.
The full House isn't expected to vote on any other bills related to the abandoned reactors at V.C. Summer. However, a special House committee formed after the nuclear cancellation is scheduled to question leaders of South Carolina's electric cooperatives that distribute power to more than 1.5 million power customers in the state.
Rep. Peter McCoy, a Charleston Republican who leads the special House committee, said last week the panel is interested in learning more about the electric cooperatives' contracts. The cooperatives get most of their power from state-run Santee Cooper, the minority owner of the reactors near Jenkinsville.
Neither the House nor Senate has decided how to handle the more than $4 billion in bonds that Santee Cooper borrowed to build the unfinished nuclear reactors.