Nuclear Development Calls on TVA Leadership and Policymakers to Take a Fresh Look at Jobs-Producing Bellefonte Nuclear Deal and Reinvigorate Region’s Lagging Decarbonization Efforts

HOLLYWOOD, Ala., April 28, 2021 /PRNewswire/ — Nuclear Development, LLC ("Nuclear Development") has asked the leadership of the Tennessee Valley Authority ("TVA")…

HOLLYWOOD, Ala., April 28, 2021 /PRNewswire/ — Nuclear Development, LLC ("Nuclear Development") has asked the leadership of the Tennessee Valley Authority ("TVA") and local and energy policymakers to take a fresh look at plans to finish development of the long-dormant Bellefonte Nuclear Generating Station ("Bellefonte"). Completing the facility would deliver low-cost, carbon-free energy, and substantial investment to the people of Tennessee and Northeast Alabama. TVA, which owns the partially developed site, initially supported the project, but has been blocking a sale to Nuclear Development.

"There is a major mismatch between the strategy TVA’s previous leadership adopted and the new federal decarbonization targets. The public-private Bellefonte partnership we originally put forward – which is still on the table – is a real opportunity for TVA’s current leadership to fix that. That is why we are calling on TVA leadership and local and energy policymakers to take a fresh look at it," said former TVA COO and current Nuclear Development CEO, Bill McCollum. "The bottom line is: a safe, well-operated Bellefonte Nuclear Generating Station will bring immense benefits to all parties, including the people of Tennessee and Northeast Alabama. Everyone concerned about the economic well-being of the region and reducing carbon emissions should be eager to find a way to make that happen."

Nuclear Development entered into a contract in November 2016 to purchase the partially developed Bellefonte facility from TVA at auction for $111 million, three times the minimum bid sought by TVA of $36.4 million. Nuclear Development provided detailed plans to invest up to $13 billion to complete construction and bring the long-dormant facility online. TVA and Nuclear Development are currently involved in a dispute over TVA’s last-minute decision to pull out of the signed agreement in 2018.

Before TVA chose to pull out of the agreement, Nuclear Development put a strong deal on the table and had a solid plan to deliver it. Nuclear Development’s plan would:

  • Reinvigorate the region’s lagging efforts to meet the United States’ goal of achieving a carbon pollution-free power sector by 2035;
  • Create 8,400 construction jobs per year for six years;
  • Create 4,000 direct and indirect, high-paying jobs at the facility and in the surrounding area during the facility’s 40-60 years in operation;
  • Deliver a long-term supply of enough electricity to power a city larger than Huntsville and Chattanooga combined;
  • Lower electricity rates for customers; and
  • Generate an estimated $1 billion in annual economic benefits for the region, according to a University of Alabama report.

In 2018, just 24 hours before the sale was scheduled to close, TVA’s previous leadership chose to pull out of the deal, citing a technicality. TVA’s last-minute decision came despite the fact that Nuclear Development was close to securing required funding and leading nuclear companies were signed on to complete construction of the plant.

Mr. McCollum continued, "Congress created TVA to serve the region, and with half of TVA’s supply coming from coal or natural gas, it will be difficult if not impossible for them to meet the 2035 decarbonization targets without a deal like this. Decarbonization goals are one factor, but when you add in the jobs, and the long term benefits for the economy, selling and completing the facility is a no-brainer. TVA’s previous leadership’s choice to back out of the Bellefonte agreement was shortsighted, but there is nothing preventing better thinking today."

Bellefonte Nuclear Station

In the mid-1970s, TVA began construction on two nuclear generation units at Bellefonte Nuclear Generating Station. The project was suspended in 1988. As recently as 2011, TVA sought to restart work on one of the reactors, but by 2014, the utility was ready to discontinue the project again. In 2016, TVA’s Board of Directors deemed Bellefonte surplus property and began accepting offers for third parties to purchase the site.

Bellefonte Nuclear Generating Station includes approximately 1,300 acres on Guntersville Reservoir, two partially constructed Babcock & Wilcox Pressurized Water Nuclear Reactors (55% complete), two high-voltage switchyards, and several office and support buildings. It also contains significant nuclear power station equipment, reinforced containment buildings, used fuel storage pools, and high capacity cranes for fuel loading, unloading, and movement. Nuclear Development’s plans for Bellefonte include state-of-the-art technology and leading-edge safety systems, additional safety barriers similar to those in the most advanced nuclear plants being built around the world, and an advanced control room simulator for training operations.

About Nuclear Development, LLC 

Nuclear Development, LLC was established in 2012 by Franklin L. Haney to identify, acquire, and develop promising nuclear energy facilities in the United States. Nuclear Development is led by Chief Executive Officer Bill McCollum, who for over 32 years served in many roles with Duke Energy, and most recently served as Chief Operating Officer of TVA. At TVA Mr. McCollum was responsible for directing TVA’s core operational businesses – TVA Nuclear, Fossil Power Group, and River System Operations. At Duke Energy, he held a variety of positions in engineering, nuclear, and fossil operations, as well as safety and project management. At various times he served as Site Vice President of Catawba and Oconee nuclear stations and managed nuclear support functions for all three Duke Energy nuclear plants, including nuclear fuels management, nuclear supply chain services, regulatory/self-assessment functions, and engineering and scientific services. Mr. Haney has developed a multi-faceted business with national investments in real estate and property development. He is a recognized leader in innovative financing, imaginative acquisitions, and creative planning. Mr. Haney’s goal is to utilize his family-owned and operated business to deliver sound investments and quality jobs to communities through innovative approaches to project development.

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