TVA board could decide by May 5 whether to sell Bellefonte site

The Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) has released a summary of the comments it received during a recent public comment period on potential future uses for the Bellefonte Nuclear Plant site located near Hollywood, Ala.

TVA leaders could decide in the next couple of weeks how the federal utility should proceed with the 1,600-acre site on a peninsular in the Tennessee River.

 The property facility currently contains two unfinished nuclear units, plus a number of supporting structures, including transmission switchyards, warehouses and parking lots, suitable for a variety of industrial, commercial or residential uses.

After TVA halted construction of the nuclear units in 1988, it has occasionally been approached about leasing or selling the plant site. In 1997, TVA considered using some of the infrastructure to construct a natural gas power plant.

None of these actions proceeded. TVA recently has been approached again about selling the Bellefonte Nuclear Plant site to allow others to complete construction of the plant.

The public comment period closed March 18.

Seventy-nine individuals and groups submitted their suggestions, which can be viewed at the Bellefonte project website at www.tva.com/bellefonte.

Some want plant completed; others want renewables on site

In a nutshell, there were 39 public comments in favor of TVA selling the property; two conditionally supported the sale; 28 wanted TVA to retain the property and 10 were uncertain.

A number of elected officials, including Sen. Richard Shelby (R-Ala.) and Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley (R) supports the idea of TVA selling the property to an entity that would complete the plant.

The Sierra Club and Tennessee Environmental Council are among those who think TVA should keep the plant and use it for renewable energy generation.

Management and the TVA board of directors will consider these comments as part of the decision whether to authorize the site to be sold.

This could be determined as early as the May 5, 2016, TVA Board meeting in Paris, Tenn. If the site is declared as surplus, TVA anticipates offering the property through a public auction process in accordance with Section 31 of the TVA Act.

During the deliberation period, those with questions regarding the specifics of the property may contact Gregory R. Signer, Associate General Counsel, Tennessee Valley Authority, 400 West Summit Hill Drive, WT-6A, Knoxville, Tennessee 37902-1401, by email at grsigner@tva.gov or via phone at (865) 632-7889.

TVA’s 2015 Integrated Resource Plan forecasts no need for the type of large, baseload power generation offered by the unfinished nuclear units, leading TVA leadership to encourage public input on whether it should sell the property as well as potential beneficial uses for the property.

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.