The N.C. Utilities Commission has decided that Duke Energy will not have to disclose cost estimates to state residents in preparing for a proposed nuclear-power plant to serve North and South Carolina customers, according to a report today by The Raleigh News & Observer. The twin-reactor plant is proposed for construction in Cherokee County, S.C. — just south of the N.C. border. Most of the customers served would be in North Carolina, however, where the Utilities Commission has now agreed with Duke Power that state law protects the cost estimate as a “trade secret.”
“Customers would ultimately pay for any new power plants through their monthly rates,” the article states, noting that some estimates for a single reactor run in the $9 billion range. Duke Energy argued that revealing cost estimates would affect vendor and contractor negotiations and keep the company from getting the lowest cost.
A South Carolina decision on the question of disclosure is anticipated in May, according to the article.
Meanwhile, a public hearing concerning the same proposed plant — which would be located some 60 miles southwest of Asheville — has been scheduled by the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission for Thursday, May 1, at 7 p.m., at Gaffney High School, 149 Twin Lake Road in Gaffney, S.C. More information is available through Blue Ridge Environmental Defense League or by contacting Mary Olson with the Nuclear Information and Resource Service at 675-1792.
— Nelda Holder, associate editor