SC high court hears from nuclear watchdog group, SCE&G (Audio)

Clements at SC Supreme Court

An environmental watchdog organization appeared with its challenge to SCE&G before the South Carolina Supreme Court Thursday.
Friends of the Earth is appealing a decision by the South Carolina Public Service Commission(PSC) allowing the utility to proceed with a two-reactor nuclear plant project and to begin collecting rates to pay for it.
Tom Clements with Friends of the Earth says the PSC should have denied the request of the the utility to start building the plants in Jenkinsville, 25 miles north of Columbia, a site which already has one reactor–the V.C. Summer Station.  Clements’ group wants the PSC to review the case again and consider energy alternatives to the nuclear projects as well as conservation measures.   He says SCE&G is passing risks inherent in the massive project on to its customers, instead of it’s stockholders, who will benefit from it.

(Clements following court hearing  MP3  1:40)
Clements following court hearing
SCE&G spokesperson Rhonda O’Banion says the company’s raising power rates 2.5 percent a year over a decade will actually save billions in financing.  O’Banion says South Carolina’s Base Load Review Act will allow the utility to save customers money over time, about $4 billion.
(O’Banion following hearing  MP3  2:28)
O’Banion following hearing
SCE&G has said the cost of both reactors will be around $11.5 billion.  Clements says 20 billion is more realistic.
Construction on the project would begin in 2013, with the first reactor going on line in 2016.