House Ways and Means backs extension of tax credit change for new nuclear reactors

The new reactors being built in Georgia and South Carolina by Southern (NYSE:SO), SCANA (NYSE:SCG) and their respective partners would still qualify for a nuclear tax credit, even if their commercial operation date slips, under a proposal endorsed by a key congressional panel.

The House Ways and Means Committee voted Sept. 21 to modify the credit for production from advanced nuclear power facilities (H.R. 5879), sponsored by Rep. Tom Rice (R-S.C.), which ensures the effective operation of the tax credit for nuclear energy production. Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-Ore.) is a co-sponsor.

Under the proposal, Vogtle Units 3 and 4 as well as V.C. Summer Units 2 and 3 would still apparently qualify for a nuclear production tax credit (PTC) even if they don’t go commercial by Jan. 1, 2021.

Despite some schedule delays and a change in lead contractors, all four of the new units are still scheduled to come online by the end of 2020 – although Vogtle 4 and Summer 3 have seen their current projected online dates slip into the summer of 2020.

When asked to summarize the legislation, a Nuclear Energy Institute (NEI) spokesperson said the bill is for all advanced reactors, including Vogtle and Summer.

“It doesn’t, under the bill language, change the 2020 date. But it does offer flexibility in that if the Georgia and South Carolina plants don’t come on line by end of December 2020 they still can qualify for the PTC after that date for an indefinite period of time,” the NEI representative said.

“The allotment is 6,000 MW so even if past the 2020 deadline and there’s still megawatts available in the 6,000 amount Vogtle and Summer can use them as can other eligible advanced technologies,” the NEI spokesperson said.

About Wayne Barber 4201 Articles
Wayne Barber, Chief Analyst for the GenerationHub, has been covering power generation, energy and natural resources issues at national publications for more than 20 years. Prior to joining PennWell he was editor of Generation Markets Week at SNL Financial for nine years. He has also worked as a business journalist at both McGraw-Hill and Financial Times Energy. Wayne also worked as a newspaper reporter for several years. During his career has visited nuclear reactors and coal mines as well as coal and natural gas power plants. Wayne can be reached at wayneb@pennwell.com.