Bellefonte Nuke Back in Picture

Monday, August 22, 2011 @ 03:08 PM gHale

The long-abandoned Bellefonte nuclear plant in Hollywood, AL, is back on the drawing board after the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) board members gave their unanimous approval to complete unit 1.

The decision, pushed back from this spring following the Fukushima Dai-ichi disaster, marks an end to decades of deliberation over the final disposition of the reactor.

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TVA estimates the unit was 90 percent complete when its construction was stopped in 1988. With such a large time gap, officials said the reactor is now 55 percent complete following two years of “asset recovery.”

TVA’s move this week paves the way for $4.5 billion to $5 billion in work to finish unit 1, though not as soon as had been originally proposed. The board’s decision specifically said construction will not begin until after fuel loading at Watts Bar 2, another TVA reactor project abandoned the same year as Bellefonte and restarted in 2007. Further project planning and regulatory approvals will take at least two years.

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission reinstated Bellefonte’s original construction permit in 2009.

Some plant equipment, including most of the control room, will need to undergo an update or total replacement. The unit will use a Babcock & Wilcox pressurized water reactor designed to generate 1,260 megawatts.

Click here for a video overview of the Bellefonte site.

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