Should TVA Sell A Mothballed Nuclear Plant? | Nashville Public Radio

Should TVA Sell A Mothballed Nuclear Plant?

May 4, 2016

The Tennessee Valley Authority appears poised to put a never-completed $4 billion nuclear plant on the auction block. TVA's board will consider selling the Bellefonte site at its meeting Thursday.

The public power utility began soliciting comments a few months ago. TVA has heard from people like Dus Rogers of the local economic development agency in Jackson County, Alabama. He heads an advisory committee assembled by TVA and says one thing the rural economy doesn’t need is a bunch of homes on the 1,600 acres, which are on the Tennessee River.

“There are plenty of other sites up and down the river for residential uses, so that site should definitely not be pursued for that,” Rogers said on a conference call with TVA officials this week.

Environmentalists share the concern about residential development, but for different reasons.

Stephen Smith with the Southern Alliance for Clean Energy says the banks should be considered a buffer and TVA should retain control.

“The TVA has given away an awful lot of riverfront property for development, and this is an opportunity to pull that back in the right direction,” Smith said.

Alabama’s top political leaders have encouraged selling Bellefonte to a private utility that would complete the nuclear plant, which was abandoned in 1988. Other potential bidders include a company that would use some of the existing infrastructure as they create power with “electromagnetic induction.”