Virgil C. Summer Nuclear Generating Station

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Virgil C. Summer Nuclear Power Station
Virgil C. Summer Nuclear Station Unit 1.jpg
Virgil C. Summer Nuclear Station Unit 1
CountryUnited States
LocationFairfield County, South Carolina
Coordinates34°17′55″N 81°18′53″W / 34.29861°N 81.31472°W / 34.29861; -81.31472Coordinates: 34°17′55″N 81°18′53″W / 34.29861°N 81.31472°W / 34.29861; -81.31472
Construction beganUnit 1: March 21, 1973
Unit 2: March 9, 2013
Unit 3: November 2, 2013
Commission dateUnit 1: January 1, 1984
(37 years ago)
Construction cost$2.563 billion (2007 USD, Unit 1)[1]
($3.11 billion in 2019 dollars[2])
Owner(s)Dominion Energy South Carolina (66.7%)
South Carolina Public Service Authority (33.3%)
Operator(s)Dominion Energy South Carolina
Nuclear power station
Reactor typePWR
Reactor supplierWestinghouse
Cooling towers4 × Mechanical Draft
(intended for Units 2–3)
Cooling sourceMonticello Reservoir
Thermal capacity1 × 2900 MWth
Power generation
Units operational1 × 973 MW
Make and modelWH 3-loop (DRYAMB)
Units cancelled2 × 1117 MW AP1000
Nameplate capacity973 MW
Capacity factor81.11% (2017)
83.9% (lifetime)
Annual net output6913 GWh (2017)
External links
CommonsRelated media on Commons

The Virgil C. Summer Nuclear Power Station occupies a site near Jenkinsville, South Carolina, in Fairfield County, South Carolina, approximately 20 miles (32 km) northwest of Columbia.

The plant has one Westinghouse 3-loop Pressurized Water Reactor, which has received approval of a 20-year license extension, taking the license expiration of Unit 1 from 2022 to 2042. Its cooling water is supplied by the Monticello Reservoir, which is also used by a pumped storage (hydroelectric) unit. The plant utilizes a once-through cooling system.

South Carolina Electric and Gas was also in the process of constructing two Westinghouse AP1000 plants, which had been scheduled to go into service in 2020, but construction on these was abandoned in 2017.

The nuclear power station also includes the decommissioned experimental Carolinas-Virginia Tube Reactor (CVTR) unit, just outside the site of the old town of Parr, SC. The CVTR was a 17 MWe, heavy water reactor.

The plant is named after Virgil Clifton Summer, the former Chairman and CEO of SCE&G.[3]

Unit 1[edit]

V. C. Summer Unit 1 is a Westinghouse 3-loop Pressurized Water Reactor. The reactor first began commercial operation on January 1, 1984. The plant cost $1.3 billion to construct – 24 percent less per kilowatt than the average of 13 nuclear plants constructed over the same time period.[4]

Unit 1 generates 2,900 MWt (Thermal Megawatts) of heat,[5] supplying a net output of 966 MWe (Electric Megawatts) of electricity to the grid.

In 2001, the Summer unit operated at 79.9 percent of capacity, producing 6.76 billion kilowatt-hours of electricity. In 2007 it produced 8.48 billion kilowatt-hours, increasing its capacity factor to 100.2 percent.[6]

About two-thirds (66.7 percent) of the Summer plant is owned by its operator, Dominion Energy. The remaining 33.3 percent is owned by the South Carolina Public Service Authority (Santee Cooper).

Units 2 and 3[edit]

On March 27, 2008, South Carolina Electric & Gas applied to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) for a Combined Construction and Operating License (COL) to build two 1,100 MW AP1000 pressurized water reactors at the site.[7] On May 27, 2008, SCE&G and Santee Cooper announced an engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) contract had been reached with Westinghouse.[8] Costs were estimated to be approximately $9.8 billion for both AP1000 units, plus transmission facility and financing costs. The operators are filing an application to increase customers bills by $1.2 billion (2.5%) during the construction period to partially finance capital costs.[9]

In March 2012, the NRC approved the construction license of the two proposed reactors at the Summer plant. As with the license approval for the Vogtle plant, NRC chairman Gregory Jaczko cast the lone dissenting vote, saying "I continue to believe that we should require that all Fukushima-related safety enhancements are implemented before these new reactors begin operating".[10] The reactors were expected to go on-line in 2017 and 2018 respectively.[11]

The construction of Unit 2 began officially on March 9, 2013, with the pouring of concrete for the base mat. The placement of the first concrete was completed on March 11, 2013. Unit 2 was the first reactor to start construction in the US in 30 years.[12] First concrete for Unit 3 was completed on November 4, 2013.[13]

In October 2014, a delay of at least one year and extra costs of $1.2 billion were announced, largely due to fabrication delays. Unit 2 was expected to be substantially complete in late 2018 or early 2019, with unit 3 about a year later.[14]

On July 23, 2015, V.C. Summer Unit 2 reached a milestone with the successful placement of the CA-01 module, one of the largest, heaviest, and most complicated modules within the Nuclear Island, also referred to as a super module because it was so large that huge submodules had to be shipped from the manufacturer and final assembly was completed on site in the twelve-story Module Assembly Building. Installation of CA-01 was long delayed due to both regulatory and production hurdles related to the module. It was the first of the US AP1000 reactors under construction to achieve placement of this critical module, beating Vogtle Unit 3 to this milestone, and allowing other construction activities in the Nuclear Island to progress that could not proceed until the module was in place. CA-01 is a large structural module that forms the internal structures of some compartments within the Containment Vessel, including the Steam Generator compartments, Reactor Vessel cavity, and Refueling Canal. The CA-01 Module is the heaviest module on site, weighing 1,200 tons, or 2.4 million pounds. Because of how much it weighs, lifting and placing the CA-01 module into the Unit 2 Nuclear Island resulted in the heaviest lift for the V.C. Summer construction project to date.[15]

In early 2017 Westinghouse Electric Company revised in-service dates to April 2020 and December 2020 for units 2 and 3.[16] In March 2017, Westinghouse Electric Company filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy because of $9 billion of losses from its two U.S. nuclear construction projects.[17] SCANA considered its options for the project,[18] and ultimately decided to abandon the project in July 2017. SCANA had determined that completing just Unit 2 and abandoning Unit 3 could be feasible and was leaning toward that option internally, however the project died when minority partner Santee Cooper's board voted to cease all construction and SCANA could not find another partner to take their place.

On July 31, 2017, after an extensive review into the costs of constructing Units 2 and 3, South Carolina Electric and Gas decided to stop construction of the reactors[19] and later filed a Petition for Approval of Abandonment with the Public Service Commission of South Carolina.[20]

Surrounding population[edit]

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission defines two emergency planning zones around nuclear power plants: a plume exposure pathway zone with a radius of 10 miles (16 km), concerned primarily with exposure to, and inhalation of, airborne radioactive contamination, and an ingestion pathway zone of about 50 miles (80 km), concerned primarily with ingestion of food and liquid contaminated by radioactivity.[21]

The 2010 U.S. population within 10 miles (16 km) of Summer was 17,599, an increase of 26.2 percent in a decade, according to an analysis of U.S. Census data for The 2010 U.S. population within 50 miles (80 km) was 1,187,554, an increase of 14.3 percent since 2000. Cities within 50 miles include Columbia (30 miles to city center).[22]

Seismic risk[edit]

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission's estimate of the risk each year of an earthquake intense enough to cause core damage to the reactor at Summer was 1 in 26,316, according to an NRC study published in August 2010.[23][24]

Reactor data[edit]

The Virgil C. Summer Nuclear Generating Station consists of one operational reactor. Two additional units under construction were cancelled on July 31, 2017.[25]

Reactor unit[26] Reactor type Capacity(MW) Construction started Electricity grid connection Commercial operation Shutdown
Net Gross
Virgil C. Summer-1[27] Westinghouse 3-Loop 966 1003 1973-03-21 1982-11-16 1984-01-01
Virgil C. Summer-2[28] Westinghouse AP1000 1117 1250 2013-03-09 Cancelled [29] N/A
Virgil C. Summer-3 2013-11-02 Cancelled


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  2. ^ Thomas, Ryland; Williamson, Samuel H. (2020). "What Was the U.S. GDP Then?". MeasuringWorth. Retrieved September 22, 2020. United States Gross Domestic Product deflator figures follow the Measuring Worth series.
  3. ^ "V.C. Summer Nuclear Station", SCANA, retrieved 17 March 2011
  4. ^ "V.C. Summer Nuclear Station Fact Sheet" (PDF). Information. SCE&G. Retrieved 2013-10-31.
  5. ^ "V.C. Summer Nuclear Station, Unit 1". Information. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC). Retrieved 2013-10-31.
  6. ^ "(Virgil C.) Summer Nuclear Station, South Carolina". United States Energy Information Administration. 2008-10-03. Retrieved 2008-11-02.
  7. ^ "Virgil C. Summer Nuclear Site, Units 2 and 3 Application". New Reactors. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC). February 9, 2009. Retrieved 2009-02-13.
  8. ^ "SCE&G & Santee Cooper Announce Contract to Build Two New Nuclear Units". SCANA Press Release. May 27, 2008. Retrieved 2008-06-20.
  9. ^ "Summer time for AP1000". Nuclear Engineering International. 5 June 2008. Archived from the original on June 13, 2011. Retrieved April 19, 2017.
  10. ^ Wingfield, Brian; Julie Johnsson (30 March 2012). "Scana Receives NRC Approval to Build South Carolina Reactors". Bloomberg L.P. Retrieved 30 March 2012.
  11. ^ "Scana ends dispute over early nuclear costs". Reuters. 29 March 2012. Archived from the original on 19 May 2018. Retrieved 30 March 2012.
  12. ^ "Construction officially starts at Summer". World Nuclear News. World Nuclear Association. 12 March 2013. Retrieved 13 March 2013.
  13. ^ "Second Summer AP1000 under construction". World Nuclear News. World Nuclear Association. 6 November 2013. Retrieved 6 November 2013.
  14. ^ "Cost of Summer AP1000s increases". World Nuclear News. 3 October 2014. Retrieved 6 October 2014.
  15. ^ "Landmark module installation at VC Summer". World Nuclear News. 24 July 2015. Retrieved 27 July 2015.
  16. ^ "Westinghouse reassures Summer plant owners". World Nuclear News. 15 February 2017. Retrieved 16 February 2017.
  17. ^ Fuse, Taro (24 March 2017). "Toshiba decides on Westinghouse bankruptcy, sees $9 billion in charges: sources". Reuters. Retrieved 25 March 2017.
  18. ^ "Scana to evaluate Summer options". World Nuclear News. 30 March 2017. Retrieved 10 April 2017.
  19. ^ "Two Half-Finished Nuclear Reactors Scrapped as Costs Balloon".
  20. ^ 5 January 2018: IPPToday #129: Dominion Energy acquires US utility Scana for US$14.6 billion
  21. ^ Archived 2006-10-02 at the Wayback Machine
  22. ^ Bill Dedman, Nuclear neighbors: Population rises near US reactors, NBC News, April 14, 2011 Accessed May 1, 2011.
  23. ^ Bill Dedman, "What are the odds? US nuke plants ranked by quake risk," NBC News, March 17, 2011 Accessed April 19, 2011.
  24. ^ "Archived copy" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2017-05-25. Retrieved 2017-05-05.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  25. ^ Brad Plumer (31 July 2017). "U.S. Nuclear Comeback Stalls as Two Reactors Are Abandoned". The New York Times. Retrieved 5 August 2018.
  26. ^ "PRIS - Home".
  27. ^ "Virgil C. Summer-1". Power Reactor Information System. International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). 12 March 2013. Retrieved 13 March 2013.
  28. ^ "Virgil C. Summer-2". Power Reactor Information System. International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). 12 March 2013. Retrieved 13 March 2013.
  29. ^ "Santee Cooper, SCANA abandon Summer nuclear plant construction".

External links[edit]