Bellefonte Nuclear Generating Station

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Bellefonte Nuclear Generating Station
Bellefonte Nuclear Power Plant.jpg
Bellefonte Nuclear Generating Station is located in Alabama
Bellefonte Nuclear Generating Station
Location of Bellefonte Nuclear Generating Station in Alabama
Country United States
Location Hollywood, Alabama
Coordinates 34°42′31″N 85°55′45″W / 34.70861°N 85.92917°W / 34.70861; -85.92917Coordinates: 34°42′31″N 85°55′45″W / 34.70861°N 85.92917°W / 34.70861; -85.92917
Status Cancelled
Construction cost US$6 billion (Units 1 & 2)
Owner(s) Tennessee Valley Authority
Nuclear power station
Reactor type Pressurized water reactor
Reactor supplier Babcock & Wilcox[1]
Power generation
Units planned 2 × 1,100 MW[1]

The Bellefonte Nuclear Generating Station (shortly BLN) was a partially constructed nuclear power plant located in Hollywood, Alabama. A total of four nuclear reactors (two originally; and two of new designs), had been proposed for the site, over a period of 40+ years. And 4.0+ billion dollars have been spent (constructing the preliminary plant infrastructure and ordering/delivering/installing major equipment items. But no nuclear reactor nor electric generating plant was ever nearly completed; and no nuclear fuel was delivered or loaded. Meaningful construction progress at the site site was halted in 1988, and all of the site's major, useable, delivered systems (power transformers, steam generators, cooling water pumps, etc.) have been removed from the site, and used at other electric generating stations, as part of an "asset recovery" program.

Units 1 and 2[edit]

The Bellefonte Nuclear Generating Station site is owned by the Tennessee Valley Authority and is located in Hollywood, Alabama. The two partially built 1,256 megawatt (MWe) pressurized water reactors on the site were made by Babcock & Wilcox and are called a 205 design due to the number of fuel assemblies in the core. These units are of the same design as WNP-1 which is also unfinished, and as the Mülheim-Kärlich A reactor in Germany that operated for three years and proved the design.

Reactor Unit 1 construction was estimated at 88%  complete (mechanical - nuclear island) and Unit 2 construction was estimated 58% complete (mechanical - nuclear island) when TVA's Board suspended the project; and the plants' construction in 1988, after a combined $6 billion investment. Subsequent asset recovery activities (i.e., the removal (without ordering or planning for replacement), of useable equipment and systems to other TVA power plant sites), along with more recent (2000s) inspections of the operable state of remaining equipment, resulted in BLN 1&2 now being considered approximately 55 percent and 35 percent complete (mechanical - nuclear island only) respectively. This in essence rated the only completed work effective from the 2000s, as being the exterior reinforced concrete nuclear island facility structures; e.g., cooling towers, containment buildings, generator halls, cooling water bays and sumps, and switchyard foundations. [2]

Should completion of either of the units be decided upon, the experience in completing Watts Bar Unit 2 is instructive in both time to completion, and magnitude of the scope of the work. All of the remaining major equipment items delivered, installed, and not later removed, will have to be baseline reexamined for use in a design which will have to conform to standards and experience gained as a consequence of both major accidents and natural disasters that have occurred in the thirty-eight plus years since construction was initially begun. Each unit would require almost a decade to complete in amended design, detailed engineering, construction, validation, and testing, thru initial operations. The exact total cost of such an effort would also be unknown as the detailed design to meet the current "lessons learned" standards of design is not yet completed; and thus, the scale and scope of construction to initial operations (upon which the cost estimate would be based) is unknown.

Although the construction permits were terminated on September 15, 2006, TVA is investigating completion of these first two units with operation projected to start Unit 1 in 2017 and Unit 2 in 2021. In August 2008 TVA asked the NRC to reinstate the construction permits as part of the restart evaluation. This request was granted by the NRC on February 9, 2009, albeit as a terminated application which required significant inspection of all systems to bring the license to the deferred stage. The status was upgraded January 14, 2010 to deferred.[3]

Units 3 and 4[edit]

On September 22, 2005 it was announced that Bellefonte was also selected as the site for one or two AP1000 pressurized water reactors to be called Units 3 and 4. TVA filed the necessary applications[4] in November 2007 to begin the design and construction process. For details, see Nuclear Power 2010 Program.

In August 2009, the Tennessee Valley Authority, faced with "falling electric sales and rising costs from cleaning up a massive coal ash spill in Tennessee", trimmed plans for the potential four-unit Bellefonte nuclear plant to one reactor.[5]

Later developments[edit]

On August 20, 2010 the TVA Board of Directors authorized $248 million to continue development of the Bellefonte Unit 1.[6] On August 18, 2011, the TVA board of directors voted to move forward with the construction of the unit one reactor at Bellefonte.[7]

In 2011, TVA approved a plan to restart construction of the Bellefonte Unit 1 reactor,[7] dependent on work at another reactor TVA completing - Watts Bar 2 in Tennessee.[8] In December 2012, TVA said the Watts Bar 2 project is on schedule to finish in December 2015.[9]

TVA again announced staffing cuts at the plant in June 2013, reducing staffing at the plant from 540 to approximately 140.[10][11]

In October 2013, it was announced that former TVA Chairman Dennis Bottorff and financier Franklin L. Haney have drafted a proposal to finish the Bellefonte Nuclear Plant using private funds and federal tax credits.[12]

In 2015 TVA determined that it would be unlikely to need a large plant like Bellefonte for the next 20 years,[13] and in May 2016 elected to declare the plant surplus, and sell the 1,600 acre site at auction for a minimum price of $36.4 million.[14][15]

On October 14, 2016, TVA directors declared the unfinished nuclear plant to be surplus property and set a November 14, 2016 auction date to sell the unfinished plant and property.[16]

Reactor data[edit]

The Bellefonte Generating Station consisted of four cancelled reactors.

Reactor unit Reactor type Capacity Construction started Electricity grid connection Commercial operation Shutdown
Net Gross
Bellefonte-1 B&W-205 1235 MW 1263 MW 01.01.1974 Cancelled construction on 01.01.1988, but planned to resume construction
Bellefonte-2 B&W-205 1235 MW 1263 MW 01.01.1974 Cancelled construction on 01.01.1988
Bellefonte-3 AP1000 1117 MW 0 MW Cancelled plan
Bellefonte-4 AP1000 1117 MW 0 MW Cancelled plan


  1. ^ a b NRC: Bellefonte Nuclear Site, Units 3 and 4 Application
  2. ^
  3. ^
  4. ^ Tennessee Valley Authority Application for a Combined Licence
  5. ^ TVA plan for Ala. nuclear plant drops to 1 reactor
  6. ^ "$248M OK'd for TVA Bellefonte site in Ala.". August 21, 2010. Archived from the original on 2012-02-29. 
  7. ^ a b "TVA board approves construction of nuclear plant". The Tennessean. August 18, 2011. Retrieved August 18, 2011. 
  8. ^ "TVA cuts contractors at Alabama Bellefonte nuclear site". Reuters. Mar 16, 2012. 
  9. ^
  10. ^ Sonal Patel (June 20, 2013). "TVA Indefinitely Delays Bellefonte Nuclear Project". Retrieved 19 July 2013. 
  11. ^ Brian Lawson (June 12, 2013). "TVA slowing work, cutting jobs at Bellefonte Nuclear plant, project's future being assessed". Retrieved 19 July 2013. 
  12. ^ Flessner, Dave (30 October 2013). "Critics Blast Plan for Private Financing of TVA's Bellefonte Nuclear Plant". Chattanooga Times Free Press. Tennessee. Retrieved 31 October 2013. 
  13. ^ "TVA mulls potential sale of Bellefonte plant". World Nuclear News. 18 February 2016. Retrieved 20 February 2016. 
  14. ^ "TVA board votes to sell Bellefonte nuclear plant to highest bidder". WHNT. May 6, 2016. Retrieved 2016-05-06. 
  15. ^ Derek Hawkins (12 September 2016). "For sale: Multibillion-dollar, non-working nuclear power plant, as is". Washington Post. Retrieved 12 September 2016. 
  16. ^

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