TVA Issues Bellefonte Supplemental EIS

Completing a nuclear unit is one option that would help us meet our customers' growing needs and provide a reliable and safe power source at significantly less cost per installed kilowatt than other generation options

 - By Mark McFadden -

The Tennessee Valley Authority has issued the Final Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement on the generation options associated with Bellefonte Nuclear Plant in north Alabama.  With the statement final, four of five detailed studies are complete to support a future decision by the TVA Board of Directors about building or completing a reactor at Bellefonte.

"Completing a nuclear unit is one option that would help us meet our customers' growing needs and provide a reliable and safe power source at significantly less cost per installed kilowatt than other generation options," said Ashok Bhatnagar, senior vice president of TVA's Nuclear Generation Development and Construction. "At the same time, additional nuclear generation leads to a reduction of our carbon footprint."

The options being studied are whether to finish one of two partially built reactors at Bellefonte, build a newly designed Westinghouse Advanced Passive 1000 reactor there or take no action.

"We now understand the environmental impacts, power supply needs, cost and schedule estimates and the project completion risks," said Bhatnagar. "The remaining study evaluates the financing options needed to support construction."

TVA is currently developing an Integrated Resource Plan that will help identify supply and demand options for meeting the TVA region's electricity needs for the next 20 years. TVA anticipates using a mix of resources, including energy efficiency and demand response programs, renewable resources, natural gas-fired generation and nuclear generation.

"As we continue to evaluate future electricity needs, our mission to provide reliable electricity to consumers requires us to continuously review and balance our strategies for energy, environment and economic development for the public's benefit," said Anda Ray, senior vice president of Environment and Technology. "Environmental reviews are done to ensure that we make informed and timely decisions and are prepared to meet our customers' needs for safe, clean and reliable power.

"Since the Bellefonte Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement process began in August 2009, we've contracted for additional wind energy, refined plans for reducing emissions from TVA coal plants and updated the energy efficiency and demand response predictions in our load forecast," said Ray.

TVA is providing an opportunity for public comment on the final statement. Comments must be received by June 21, 2010. The final statement is available for review and comment online at Comments may also be e-mailed to, faxed to (865) 632-3451 or mailed to Ruth Horton, TVA, 400 Summit Hill Drive, Knoxville, TN 37902.

Printed copies of the final statement are available for viewing at most public libraries in the area. For more information or to request a copy, call 800-882-5264, or e-mail For e-mails, please include "Bellefonte" in the subject line and include your U.S. Postal Service mailing address.

Construction began in 1974 on two 1,200-megawatt pressurized-water reactors, Units 1 and 2, at Bellefonte. Work was halted in 1988 in response to decreased power demand. TVA has considered a variety of options for Bellefonte since then, including in 2007 using it as the proposed site for two AP1000 reactors as part of a NuStart Energy Development Consortium application for a new combined construction and operating license from the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.

In 2009, the NRC granted TVA's request to reinstate Bellefonte's original construction permits so TVA could better evaluate the engineering and economic feasibility of completing Units 1 and 2. Both units are now being maintained in construction-deferred status.

The Tennessee Valley Authority, a corporation owned by the U.S. government, provides electricity for utility and business customers in most of Tennessee and parts of Alabama, Mississippi, Kentucky, Georgia, North Carolina and Virginia - an area of 80,000 square miles with a population of 9 million. TVA operates 29 hydroelectric dams, 11 coal-fired power plants, three nuclear plants and 11 natural gas-fired power facilities and supplies up to 36,000 megawatts of electricity, delivered over 16,000 miles of high-voltage power lines. TVA also provides flood control, navigation, land management and recreation for the Tennessee River system and works with local utilities and state and local governments to promote economic development across the region. TVA, which makes no profits and receives no taxpayer money, is funded by sales of electricity to its customers. Electricity prices in TVA's service territory are below the national average.

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