The Trump administration denied a struggling utility’s request for a $3 billion grant before abandoning two partially-built nuclear reactors, Axios reported Friday.
The Department of Energy (DOE) rejected the petition, saying the amount SCANA Corp. needed for further construction was excessive, even after the utility revised the request to $1 billion.
The DOE offered a loan to SCANA in place of the grant, but the utility rejected the option. It claimed a grant was necessary in case costs rose above the fixed amount SCANA and the South Carolina Public Service Commission agreed to.
“The Department of Energy did work with representatives of the [South Carolina] project to discuss potential paths forward with regards to the project’s financial situation,” DOE spokeswoman Shaylyn Hynes told Axios. “A loan guarantee was a potential option for the company to consider which they ultimately chose not to pursue.”
The South Carolina reactors, the latest in a series of shuttered nuclear energy plants and projects, could not overcome competition from cheap natural gas and more affordable renewable energy without federal assistance, The Washington Post reported.
“Stronger climate policy as well as government support will be needed if we are to realize the much-heralded ‘nuclear renaissance,'” Columbia University Center on Global Energy Policy director Jason Bordoff told The Post after the reactors’ fate was announced.
The company in charge of designing and constructing SCANA’s reactors, Westinghouse, filed for bankruptcy in March, largely due to the extensive costs of building the South Carolina nuclear facilities, The Post reports.
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