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Nuclear industry awaits critical tax credits

Jul 26, 2017

Utility companies in South Carolina and Georgia are trying to decide whether to continue building or abandon construction on two expensive nuclear reactors as they wait for the U.S. Senate to extend a nuclear tax credit they are counting on.

Under current law, nuclear reactors can only receive the nuclear production tax credit if they become active by Dec. 31, 2020. However, in June, the U.S. House passed a fast-tracked bill to extend the nuclear tax credit deadline to reactors being put into service after 2021.

But the Senate has yet to pass a bill and is looking at options from a stand-alone bill (S. 666) to attaching it to other legislation, including the Federal Aviation Administration reauthorization, a spending measure, or an infrastructure package.

Securing the tax incentive now is critical as utility companies Georgia Power and South Carolina Electric Gas and Co. determine how long it will take to finish their reactor projects—Plant Vogtle in Georgia and V.C. Summer in South Carolina.

The utilities took over constructing the over-budget and behind-schedule nuclear plants when Westinghouse Electric Co. filed for bankruptcy earlier this spring. Court filings indicate it would cost an additional $6.1 billion to complete both projects.

Read more about the nuclear tax credit legislation in “Lawmakers scramble to advance credit for ailing industry,” (E&E News, www.eenews.net).

Read about Westinghouse Electric Co. in “U.S. nuclear projects face scrutiny as Westinghouse files for bankruptcy,” (Engineering News Record, www.enr.com)