Progress may buy into S.C. reactors

February 12, 2011 

Progress Energy has been looking to buy a stake in two proposed nuclear reactors in South Carolina as the Raleigh-based power company considers options to finance nuclear expansion.

Progress CEO Bill Johnson told reporters at Bloomberg News that Progress has discussed buying a stake in two proposed reactors about 25 miles northwest of Columbia. The project is jointly owned by the Scana Corp. and Santee Cooper, the state-owned electric utility that has publicly said it's looking to sell off some of its share in the project.

Johnson made the comments in New York, where he spoke at a nuclear industry conference and made a series of media appearances.

Those discussions are consistent with Progress' approach to nuclear expansion based on joint financing or co-ownership.

Progress spokesman Mike Hughes would not say whether Progress is still interested in joint ownership of the $9.1 billion V.C. Summer nuclear project in South Carolina or whether those talks have ended without resolution.

"We certainly have talked with all of our neighbors," Hughes said. "The concept of regional nuclear is a very important one."

Joint ownership is a necessity in an era of skyrocketing nuclear costs. Progress' twin reactor nuclear expansion in Florida is estimated to cost as much as $22.5 billion.

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