TVA Stops All Pursuit of Nuclear Power Breaking News: TVA Stops All Pursuit of Nuclear Power at Bellefonte in Alabama

Guest Blog | February 17, 2016 |

Utility cancels long-mothballed Bellefonte reactors 1 & 2; site may be put up for sale

Contact: Jennifer Rennicks, Southern Alliance for Clean Energy, 865-235-1448, [email protected]


Knoxville, Tenn. (February 17, 2016) – Today the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) confirmed that it is abandoning all plans to pursue building any nuclear reactors at their Bellefonte Nuclear Plant (BLN) site, near Hollywood, Alabama. This announcement comes on the heels of TVA’s action last Friday to withdraw their federal license application with the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) for two proposed Toshiba-Westinghouse AP1000 reactors. TVA’s action today relates to Bellefonte reactor units 1 and 2, which began construction over forty years ago until construction was halted in 1988 after $4.6 billion was spent. The utility is considering declaring it as surplus, is entertaining the sale of the site, and is accepting public comments on the proposal.

“We congratulate TVA on their proposal to formally close the long and expensive chapter on their 42-year old Bellefonte 1 and 2 reactors,” said Dr. Stephen A. Smith, executive director of the Southern Alliance for Clean Energy (SACE). “We really do believe this is an opportunity to recruit cleaner technologies and industries, allowing Northern Alabama to move into the 21st century with new economic opportunities like Google, energy efficiency and clean solar power.”

TVA’s Board of Directors unanimously approved completing the old Bellefonte reactors back in August 2011 with estimates to complete of approximately $11 billion, over the objections of SACE as outlined in a comprehensive report and video that was shared with the Board prior to their vote. SACE continued to urge TVA to reject the risky project, as there are far cheaper, cleaner and safer energy options that don’t pose such overwhelming risks. Schemes to potentially privatize the completion of the old Bellefonte reactors were fortunately rejected. TVA’s Final 2015 Integrated Resource Plan (IRP) showed that Bellefonte is not needed to meet customer demand – and none of the strategies in the IRP include completion of Bellefonte Units 1 and 2. In fact, the IRP stated that the “ultimate fate of this plant will eventually be decided by the TVA Board of Directors.”

The long mothballed Bellefonte 1 and 2 reactor units pose a host of problems:

  • The Babcock and Wilcox Mark C “205” reactor design is from the 1960’s, is fundamentally flawed and has never operated in the U.S.
  • The only reactor of this design that ever operated was in Germany–for less than a year.
  • After abandoning its construction permit, TVA “cannibalized” the unfinished reactors for spare parts between 2006-2009 when the cancelled Bellefonte project was no longer under oversight from the NRC – quality control and quality assurance protocols were lost.

“We fully support the sale of this property if it is commissioned in the spirit of bringing clean, safe economic development to Northern Alabama. Let’s remember this is a clean site – no nuclear chain reaction has ever occurred here. If someone is reckless enough to acquire the site and attempt to complete the Bellefonte 1 and 2 reactors with the existing, antiquated reactor design, we will aggressively oppose their efforts,” said Smith.

TVA is accepting public comments on their proposal to declare the Bellefonte site surplus and possibly sell the site. Comments are due by March 18, 2016. Find more information here:

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About Southern Alliance for Clean Energy
Founded in 1985, the Southern Alliance for Clean Energy is a nonprofit organization that promotes responsible energy choices that work to address the impacts of global climate change and ensure clean, safe, and healthy communities throughout the Southeast. Learn more at