For sale: 1 unfinished nuke power plant
HOLLYWOOD, Ala. — After spending $5 billion on an unfinished nuclear power plant in northeastern Alabama, the nation’s largest federal utility is preparing to sell the property at a fraction of its cost.
The Tennessee Valley Authority has set a minimum bid of $36.4 million for its Bellefonte Nuclear Plant and the 1,600 surrounding acres of waterfront property on the Ten- nessee River. The buyer gets two unfinished nuclear reactors, transmission lines, office buildings, 8 miles of roads, a 1,000-space parking lot and more.
Initial bids are due Monday, and at least one company has publicly expressed interest in the site with plans to use it for alternative energy production. Using the site for power production, industrial manufacturing, recreation or even residences would all be fine with the agency, said spokesman Scott Fiedler.
The utility had planned to construct four reactors at the site, but demand for power in the region never met expectations. Work there reportedly began in the mid-1970s and halted in 1988. A series of starts and stops preceded the decision earlier this year to sell Bellefonte.
The Nuclear Energy Institute says at least 30 nuclear power units were sold in part or whole since 1999.
The potential sale of Bellefonte is creating hope in a region where many gave up long ago on the promise of thousands of jobs. “It was a great thing, but then they just pulled the plug,” said Hollywood, Ala., Mayor Frank Duke.
Nevada-based Phoenix Energy has said it will offer $38 million for Bellefonte in hopes of using it for a new, non-nuclear technology to generate power. It says its system uses electromagnetic induction energy fields to heat water indirectly and produce steam that would turn turbines and generate electricity.
At least one company has expressed interest in purchasing the Bellefonte Nuclear Plant in northeastern Alabama.