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Thousands of records tell story of failed nuclear plant, could lead to SCE&G refunds via The State

In the fall of 2015, inspectors discovered that improperly designed and installed machinery at a massive nuclear expansion project in South Carolina could allow radiation to escape into the surrounding community if problems were not corrected, according to once-secret SCE&G documents.

Such problems weren’t isolated as workers scrambled to build two nuclear reactors northwest of Columbia. Similar flaws are detailed in tens of thousands of documents released recently by SCE&G to environmental groups, whose lawyers hope to use them to prove the utility’s customers deserve refunds for the now-abandoned project.

The legal case, spearheaded by Friends of the Earth and the Sierra Club, could be the fastest route to refunds for SCE&G customers who unwittingly have been forced to pay $2 billion over the past decade for two nuclear reactors that won’t be built.

[…]

The 70,000-page records dump, reviewed over the past two weeks by reporters at The State, builds on previous reports about the project’s delays and cost overruns, painting a portrait of a mammoth construction effort in disarray.

The documents show some of the nuclear project’s machinery was built poorly or allowed to fall into disrepair.

[…]

Workers were cited as lazy, and some failed or purposely avoided mandatory fitness-for-duty tests.

SCE&G and its junior partner in the project, state-owned Santee Cooper, fought with contractors over invoices for incomplete work and bickered for months about an expensive no-bid contract granted to a subcontractor’s affiliate.

The documents show SCE&G managers tried in vain o push its contractors to improve, even as the power company’s executives publicly offered rosy comments about the nuclear project.

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