The Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) on Friday said it would not pursue building two additional reactors at the Bellefonte Nuclear Plant in northeast Alabama that already has two mothballed reactor projects on site.
The canceled reactors would have been Units 3 and 4. Although there are two unfinished projects on the site -- representing an expense of $4.3 billion -- on which construction was begun in 1974, the TVA applied for permission to construct two units (3 and 4) in 2007. Construction had already been halted by then for about a decade on Units 1 and 2.
The utility, which serves 9 million customers in Tennessee, Alabama, Mississippi, Kentucky, Georgia, North Carolina and Virginia, expects to complete the second unit at the Watts Bar Nuclear Generating Station near Spring City, Tennessee, this year. That project was also put on hold for years for the same reason work was halted at Bellefonte: Demand for electricity had peaked and leveled off. Now, in addition to that, utilities with nuclear plant ambitions face the daunting economic headwinds of low natural gas prices and subsidies for renewable energy (wind and solar).
TVA had until Friday, Feb. 12, to inform the Nuclear Regulatory Commission of its plans for the third and fourth units at Bellefonte, which is in Hollywood, Alabama.
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