Westinghouse Woe Widens as N.C. Questions Duke's Plans

  • Utility has 60 days to respond on proposed nuclear reactors
  • Southern, Scana deciding fate of their own nuclear projects

Add Duke Energy Corp. to the list of U.S. utility owners affected by the bankruptcy of nuclear contractor Westinghouse Electric Co.

The North Carolina Utilities Commission ordered Duke this week to report on the financial status of Westinghouse owner Toshiba Corp. and how it may affect the two Westinghouse AP1000 reactors the power supplier has proposed to install at the planned Lee nuclear station in Cherokee County, South Carolina.

Westinghouse’s bankruptcy in March has already thrown into question the fate of four U.S. nuclear reactors -- two being built by Southern Co. in Georgia and another two by Scana Corp. in South Carolina. The companies and regulators in those states are now grappling with what to do with the projects, which were already delayed by years and billions of dollars over budget.

Among other things, North Carolina regulators ordered Duke on Monday to say whether it could use a different technology to build its reactors at Lee; whether the company had suspended investment in the project until the “Toshiba-Westinghouse situation is resolved”; and whether it would seek a return on “abandoned costs” outside of a general rate case should the project be canceled.

Charlotte-based Duke, which has 60 days to respond, will provide the information requested, spokeswoman Rita Sipe said Wednesday by email.

Duke shares fell 0.6 percent to $82.61 at 10:52 a.m. in New York.

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