Bellefonte buyer to complete plant

15 November 2016

Nuclear Development LLC yesterday bought at auction the partially-completed Bellefonte nuclear power plant from the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) for $111 million. The private company intends to invest up to $13 billion to complete construction of the nuclear plant.

Bellefonte (Image: TVA)

TVA announced in May that it would sell the 1400 acre (578 hectare) property, near Hollywood, Alabama, after declaring the site surplus to its requirements. It announced in July that the site, with two partially-built pressurized water reactors (PWRs) plus infrastructure including switchyards, office buildings, warehouses, cooling towers, water pumping stations and railroad spurs, would be sold at auction to qualified bidders. TVA set a minimum price of $36.4 million for the site.

The auction process was managed on behalf of TVA by Concentric Energy Advisors Inc, which marketed the property to more than 500 potential buyers. Of these, 11 expressed an interest and signed confidentiality agreements for further discussions. Three bidders completed letters of intent which included financial qualifications and a plan of their intended use of the property.

Nuclear Development bid against Jackson Holdings of Alabama LLC, representing investors wanting to use equipment from the unfinished reactor for a nuclear plant in India, the Times Free Press reported. The third pre-qualified bidder, Nevada-based Phoenix Energy, had intended to use the site to produce electricity using technology based on electromagnetic induction energy fields but was unable to put the necessary financing in place in time and did not participate in the auction.

Franklin Haney, who established Nuclear Development in 2002, thanked TVA for a "fair and open" bidding process and acknowledged the support of congressional delegations from Alabama and Tennessee for their continued support of nuclear development. "I appreciate TVA's confidence in our proposal and I am excited to carry forward the investments TVA has already made in Bellefonte Nuclear Plant for the benefit of North Alabama and the surrounding communities. This is truly a historic day for the TVA region," he said.

Nuclear Development said it intends to invest up to an additional $13 billion to complete construction of Bellefonte, starting in 2017. The company has up to two years to close on the property and is required to make a minimum $25 million investment in the property during the five-year period following closing. Until closing, the Bellefonte site will be maintained by TVA.

TVA purchased Bellefonte in 1974 and began work to build two Babcock & Wilcox PWRs. Construction was suspended in 1988, when unit 1 was about 90% complete and unit 2 58% complete. Since then, many of the units' components have been transferred or sold, while others would need to be upgraded or replaced, so the levels of completion are now substantially lower - 55%, according to Nuclear Development.

The US Nuclear Regulatory Commission reinstated the construction permits for the units in 2009. TVA decided in 2011 that it would complete Bellefonte unit 1 after the completion of Watts Bar 2. The company subsequently decided Bellefonte was no longer needed to meet future baseload power needs. Watts Bar 2 entered commercial operation last month.

Researched and written
by World Nuclear News