SNC-Lavalin Signs Letter Of Intent For Bellefonte Completion

SNC-Lavalin, U.S. subsidiary of SNC Lavalin Nuclear of Canada, has signed a memorandum of understanding that sets the company up to be the primary engineer and construction contractor for the former TVA Bellefonte nuclear power plant project in Hollywood, Alabama, that was purchased at auction by Franklin Haney's Nuclear Development LLC in November of 2016.

Bellefonte NPPTVA decided in 2015 that the economic environment and the future demand for electricity was not conducive to completing the Bellefonte site's two unfinished 1256 MWe Babcock & Wilcox Pressurized Water Reactors and offered the site up for sale. Of the two bidders that pursued the property, Nuclear Development LLC came up with the winning bid of $111 million, of which 20 percent – about $22 million – has been paid. The remainder needs to be paid by the end of the year for the deal to remain viable.

The project had gone through a series of starts and stops. It was finally halted with Unit 1 approximately 90 percent complete and Unit 2 about 60 percent complete. It has been estimated that it would cost about $13 billion to complete the two reactors, but the estimates are sure to be very rough at this point. Since TVA's final decision to abandon the project in 1988, many of the installed components have become obsolete, while other parts were stripped from the site to be put to use elsewhere.

Some naysayers are also skeptical of Franklin Haney's credentials, as he has very little experience in the energy sector. His considerable fortune comes from developing and leasing properties to federal agencies, including TVA. The Times Free Press also reported in May that Haney has sought financial assistance in the project from overseas investors, including the sovereign Qatar Investment Authority, which could create difficulties, given the ban on having nuclear power plants in the United States predominantly owned by foreign entities.

Others have said the construction project was designed so long ago that the infrastructure in place could never be brought up to modern safety standards without tearing it out and starting from scratch.

Haney has reportedly hired President Donald Trump's personal attorney Michael Cohen to help solidify a deal with Qatari funding. Haney has also reportedly been seeking $5 billion in federal tax credits that would serve as loan guarantees for the project.

SNC-Lavaliln officials have been enthusiastic about the signed letter of intent. “The impetus to complete the Bellefonte plant signifies that nuclear power has regained interest as an energy source that is necessary as part of the overall energy portfolio in the United States,” the World Nuclear News quoted the company's Chief Nuclear Officer Preston Swafford as saying.

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  • That's all we need, more pigs at the nuclear trough.

  • Anonymous

    ..."reportedly hired President Donald Trump's personal attorney Michael Cohen to help solidify a deal with Qatari funding..."....maybe Cohen can research the case in the prison law library.  A financial disaster in the making...