Nuclear Development LLC reacted quickly to the failed closing of the deal to purchase the unfinished Bellefonte Nuclear Power Planty in Jackson County, Alabama, filing a lawsuit complaining that the Tennessee Valley Authority sabotaged the deal.
Nuclear Development’s filing claims that TVA knew about a regulatory necessity – a permit from the Nuclear Regulatory Commission – for decades, but did not reveal that to the buyer until six days before the original closing date in November.
WHNT19 News reports that a comment from the Nuclear Regulatory Commission clarified the argument, saying that, as there was no radioactive material on site, no permit from them was required for the sale, anyway.
TVA argues that a construction permit would be required for the sale, otherwise the sale would be illegal under the Atomic Energy Act.
Nuclear Development purchased the site and the two incomplete reactors in an auction for $111 after TVA, having abandoned the project in the 1980s, had spent more than $5 billion on the Bellefonte site.
A permit is needed for construction, but the sale of the site would be legitimate without one, the NRC spokesperson said.
Meanwhile, a subplot to the story could be critical. Nuclear Development is seeking an $8.5 billion federal loan to complete the two reactors. However, to secure the loan a guaranteed customer would be a very persuasive part of a loan agreement. To do that, Nuclear Development is courting Memphis Light, Gas and Water, which is TVA’s largest customer, the news group said.
Nuclear Development is promising Memphis Light, Gas and Water a better rate than TVA, but the utility has yet to commit to a deal with Nuclear Development.
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Seriously, Nuclear Development wants to go into the nuclear power business but does not know a permit is required? Who performed the due diligence for this project?