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Coolant leak shuts down South Carolina's VC Summer nuclear plant

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The failed V.C. Summer nuclear project was under construction for a decade. File/Thomas Hammond

What is being termed as a very small leak in the reactor coolant system temporarily shut down the VC Summer Nuclear Station in Fairfield County, a Dominion Energy spokesperson said Monday. 

Operators have been monitoring the leak since Wednesday, which is confined within the site's containment building and isn't moving into the outside environment, said spokesperson Ken Holt. 

"There is no danger to the public," Holt said. "Although the small leak is not at a level that would require a plant shutdown, operators made the conservative decision to shut down the reactor to address the leak."

The reactor was shut down Wednesday night and the plant is taking measures to "find and address any other impacted components," he said.

The Virginia-based power utility declined to state when the unit will return to service as doing so "is considered market sensitive information." 

The leak happened at an existing reactor that has been running since the 1980s.

A project to build two new nuclear reactors at the site was abandoned in July 2017 after years of work and $9 billion spent. 

The mounting boondoggle of cost overruns, incompetent management and other breakdowns remained largely unknown outside of top officials at SCANA Corp., which spearheaded the project along with state-owned Santee Cooper. 

Dominion acquired SCANA earlier this year. 

Reach Gregory Yee at 843-937-5908. Follow him on Twitter @GregoryYYee.

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