VIDEO: TVA considers putting Bellefonte nuclear plant site up for sale

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The Tennessee Valley Authority is seeking public comment on whether to sell the much-discussed Bellefonte nuclear plant site, a 1,600-acre peninsula located on Guntersville Reservoir near Hollywood, Alabama.

TVA made the announcement Feb. 17, only days after filing papers with the Nuclear Regulatory Commission saying that it was withdrawing its combined construction and operating license application for new advanced reactors (Units 3 and 4) at the site.

TVA filed its paperwork with NRC withdrawing the COL applications Feb. 12. “Only Units 3 & 4 are affected. The licenses for Bellefonte Units 1 & 2 remain active and we continue to maintain the facility pending consideration of their future development,” a TVA spokesperson said in a Feb. 17 email to GenerationHub.

TVA had filed the application for the COLs for two advanced reactors with NRC in October 2007.

“Our most recent Integrated Resource Plan noted that the relatively minor forecasted growth in demand combined with the increased importance of energy efficiency programs means TVA is unlikely to need additional large sources of baseload power for the next 20 years,” the TVA representative added. “Since no construction activities have ever begun on Units 3 & 4, it was appropriate for us to remove those units from consideration at this time,” he added.

As for the potential sale, the TVA spokesperson stressed that “no decisions have been made. At some point in the future, the TVA board of directors will review the public comments along with any recommendations from TVA leadership to make a final decision.”

“As we consider this decision, it is important that we hear from interested stakeholders, potential site developers and the general public,” said TVA President and CEO Bill Johnson. “TVA has been investing at a minimal level to preserve the Bellefonte site for future generating use, should we need it.”

“The 2015 Integrated Resource Plan, completed with public input, indicates it may be two decades before additional large baseload generation is needed,” he said. “It’s time we answer the question of whether TVA is serving the public well by retaining control of the Bellefonte site, or if others could make more beneficial use of it. And with economic development as a cornerstone of our mission, TVA wants to know if there is an entity interested in investing and creating jobs at this location.”

A public comment period will run through March 18.

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Wayne Barber, Chief Analyst for the GenerationHub, has been covering power generation, energy and natural resources issues at national publications for more than 22 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.

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