South Carolina state-owned utility Santee Cooper last week said it had separately signed letters of intent with Duke Energy Carolinas and Florida Municipal Power Agency (FMPA) to negotiate partnerships in the two new nuclear reactors at the V.C. Summer Nuclear Generating Station that Santee Cooper is planning with South Carolina Electric & Gas (SCE&G).

Santee Cooper and SCE&G, a SCANA Corp. subsidiary, filed an application in 2008 with the Nuclear Regulatory Commission to build two new Westinghouse AP1000 reactors at the V.C. Summer Nuclear Station site in Fairfield County, S.C. If approved, the reactors (Units 2 and 3) will come online in 2016 and 2019. Santee Cooper currently owns 45% of the V.C. Summer expansion, and SCE&G owns 55%. The expansion has been estimated to cost $10.5 billion.

Last year, after the recession slowed the state’s demand growth projections, Santee Cooper said it would consider cutting its stake in the plant to 20%. The utility’s is continuing its review; findings have been “disclosed with rating agencies and other key stakeholders,” it said.

The letter of intent signed with Duke Energy Carolinas is for 5% to 10% of the capacity and output from Units 2 and 3, which is roughly 10% to 20% of Santee Cooper’s ownership interest in the expansion. Duke Energy said in a statement that it has been looking for “various regional generation opportunities to meet future customer needs” for clean energy, and that the “agreement with Santee Cooper is a positive step in that direction.”

Duke Energy said it would also continue work on development activities for its proposed Lee Nuclear Station in Florida, hoping to receive a combined construction and operating license from the NRC by 2013.

Santee Cooper’s letter of intent signed with wholesale power company FMPA on Friday is for 2% to 10% of the capacity and output from Summer Units 2 and 3, roughly 5% to 20% of Santee Cooper’s ownership interest. FMPA is owned by 30 municipal electric utilities.

In March 2011, Santee Cooper signed a similar letter of intent with Orlando Utilities Commission for a similar share of the capacity and output from the two new units.

Sources: POWERnews, Santee Cooper, SCANA, Duke Energy