Nuclear reactors will be built ‘at some point’ say utility CEO

FILe - In this Sept. 16, 2016 file photo, a cap for a containment building for the V.C. Summer Nuclear Station is shown near Jenkinsville, S.C., during a media tour of the facility. South Carolina’s utilities are abandoning two partly-built nuclear reactors. And they want permission to charge customers another $5 billion to cover their costs. An environmentalist says that money could have gone to renewable energy. Others say nuclear is key to cooling the planet and won’t exist if the federal government doesn’t finance it. (AP Photo/Chuck Burton)

COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) — The retiring CEO of one of two utilities that abandoned a nuclear power project in South Carolina argues against selling the pieces, saying the reactors will be completed someday.

Santee Cooper CEO Lonnie Carter told senators Monday that the utilities should not “walk away from this investment.” He questioned whether it makes sense to sell parts off to reduce debt now only to have to buy them at full cost later.

The state-owned utility and private South Carolina Electric & Gas abandoned construction of two reactors July 31 after jointly spending nearly $10 billion.

Utility executives have said nearly all of the components needed to complete them are on site.

Whether to sell is up to the utilities, though Santee Cooper has less say as the minority owner.