SACE | Southern Alliance for Clean Energy

Privatizing the Bellefonte Nuclear Reactor: The Good, The Bad and The Ugly


Contact: Jennifer Rennicks, Southern Alliance for Clean Energy, 865-235-1448,

Knoxville, Tenn. (October 29, 2013) – Today the Southern Alliance for Clean Energy (SACE) is offering public response to and analysis of the fundamentally flawed proposal to privatize the Tennessee Valley Authority’s (TVA) long-abandoned, partially-constructed Bellefonte nuclear plant in Hollywood, Alabama. The Bottorff-Haney proposal was recently released in a semi-public meeting in Knoxville, Tenn. on September 13.

SACE is intrigued by one of the proposal’s key premises – a recommendation to retire even more coal units than has previously been agreed to in TVA’s planning processes. However, upon closer review, SACE has determined that the proposal is simplistically constructed, contains numerous factual errors, and offers unrealistic promises on rates and timeline.

“At first, the nuclear privatization proposal seemed very detailed,” said John D. Wilson, research director for SACE. “But as I studied it, I found too many flaws and unanswered questions. There’s a good reason that utilities use complicated planning software for forecasting and modeling: it is hard to plan a utility system using simple spreadsheets. SACE feels it is essential to shed light on a proposal that creates unrealistic expectations and unfairly shifts costs.”

For example, one problem with the proposal is that a promised rate reduction amounts to $1.8 billion transfer to direct-serve industrial customers from the vast majority of residential and business customers throughout the Tennessee Valley.

“While we are eager to see additional coal retirements in our region, we strongly oppose any proposals that would exert uninformed political pressure in an attempt to benefit sub-regions of the TVA service territory and/or personally enrich former board members and political donors,” said Dr. Stephen Smith, executive director of SACE.

“We believe that the proper venue for discussions around TVA’s future generation plans is during an open and transparent Integrated Resource Planning (IRP) process which TVA has just initiated,“ continued Smith. “Proposals put forward outside of an open IRP process, such as this one, may lead to bad planning decisions in the future.”

In addition to playing an active role in the newly commenced IRP process along with other stakeholders across the region, SACE’s Dr. Stephen Smith has been appointed to serve on the Regional Energy Resource Council. Members of this council, who convened for the first time last week in Hollywood, Alabama, will provide advice on the development and management of energy resources in the Tennessee Valley.

A live telepress news event was held at 1 p.m. EDT on Tuesday, October 29, 2013 and a complete recording is available here. Detailed slides summarizing SACE’s analysis, Privatizing the Bellefonte Nuclear Reactor: The Good, The Bad and The Ugly, can be viewed here.

For additional information on the proposal to complete the long abandoned Bellefonte reactors, including a detailed report, visit



Founded in 1985, the Southern Alliance for Clean Energy is a nonprofit organization that promotes responsible energy choices that create global warming solutions and ensure clean, safe, and healthy communities throughout the Southeast. Learn more at