No Need To Build Alabama Nuclear Plant—Not Even Using Nashville Businessman’s Money

Started in the 1970s, TVA halted work on Bellefonte in 1988. At the time, the agency had invested $6 billion in the plant. Image: TVA

Started in the 1970s, TVA halted work on Bellefonte in 1988. At the time, the agency had invested $6 billion in the plant. Image: TVA

The Tennessee Valley Authority says an unfinished nuclear plant in Alabama will likely stay that way.  Not only has TVA stopped work at the Bellefonte Nuclear Plant, it’s also turned down an offer from a Nashville financier to finish the project with private money.

Bellefonte has sat unfinished since the 1980s. But in 2011, TVA decided to complete one of the two reactors there.  Since then, the agency has seen a drop in power demand and cost of finishing the reactor has nearly doubled. CEO Bill Johnson told the TVA board Thursday that current estimates say it will cost between $7.4 and $8.7 billion to complete.

Johnson also rejected a plan, offered by former board chair Dennis Bottorff. The retired Nashville banker and another investor had proposed a complex deal to use private funding to complete the reactor and lease it back to TVA.

In an interview with the Chattanooga Times Free Press, Johnson called the plan unrealistic and said it could force TVA to raise electricity rates or borrow billions more than it has to.

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