The board of directors for the Tennessee Valley Authority approved nearly $250 million toward the possible reopening of one of its nuclear reactors in Alabama.

TVA-LogoThe board of directors for the Tennessee Valley Authority approved nearly $250 million toward the possible reopening of one of its nuclear reactors in Alabama.

The board, meeting in Knoxville, Tenn., approved the fiscal year 2011 budget that included $248 million to fund the initial engineering design and site preparation for Unit 1 at the Bellefonte Nuclear Plant. Final approval for the project is not expected until next year.

Construction at the plant in northeast Alabama was started in 1974 but was stopped in 1988. The Nuclear Regulatory Commission in 2009 approved TVA’s request to reinstate Bellefonte’s original construction permits while the utility evaluated its two reactor sites.

The projected cost to complete the unit is between $4.3 billion and $4.7 billion. TVA staff has recommended building a 1,260-megawatt Babcock and Wilcox-designed reactor, instead of an advanced Westinghouse AP1000 design.

TVA CEO Tom Kilgore also presented an overview of TVA’s strategic plan for the future, which includes idling old coal-burning units and increasing production of natural gas and nuclear energy.

“We want to be one of the nation’s leading providers of low-cost and clean energy by 2020,” he said.

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Source: Kristin M. Hall | The Examiner
Photo: Tennessee Valley Authority