New information came to light last week in the future development of the long-mothballed Bellefonte Nuclear Plant near Scottsboro in the Hollywood community of Jackson County, Alabama.
Formerly a property of the federal utility, TVA, the northeast Alabama facility sold at auction in November 2016, with a letter of intent to bid submitted by Nuclear Development LLC, which outlined the value of its proposal.
TVA released the information of that proposal last Thursday, which outlines the plant generating an economic impact of $1 billion and providing more than 12,000 jobs in the area.
Nuclear Development, LLC, which was formed by Chattanooga area developer Franklin Haney in 2012 for the sole purpose of acquiring the Bellefonte Nuclear Plant, submitted a bid of $111 million to win the auction for the plant late last year.
“The positive ongoing economic impact to the surrounding region will exceed $1 billion per year,” the proposal stated.
Nuclear Development said in its proposal that it plans to complete the two partially completed nuclear power plants and to operate those plants as merchant power plants connected to the grid through the existing transmission lines of TVA and Southern Company.
Bellefonte has Nuclear Regulatory Commission construction licenses. When completed, the plants will be the largest capacity advanced reactors in the United States, according to the proposal.
The proposal says it would require 8,000 to 10,000 direct and indirect construction jobs during peak construction to complete the plant from its’ current stage, with most of the workers coming from other locations.
It goes on to say in the report that this will, in turn, create a need for housing, restaurants, recreation facilities and other support facilities in the local community.
Many feel that this would also have a positive economic trickle-down for the communities surrounding the plant as well, including Bridgeport, Stevenson, and even parts of Marion County in Tennessee for those who might wish to continue being a Tennessee resident but seek work at the plant — just a short commute from the Tennessee-Alabama state line.
Aside from the construction jobs, the project will also create about 2,400 direct and indirect permanent and mostly high-paying jobs in operation, maintenance, and support as well as personnel that is required.
The proposal also states that TVA would be a logical customer for the electricity produced at the plant because that electricity would be more cost-effective for the TVA as a long-term source of base power, if needed, at an attractive and non-fluctuating cost.
And it says that need is a reality, too, with substantial additional power that will be needed by the time these plants would be operational and over their 60-year likely life.
After winning the bid in November, Nuclear Development, LLC initially gave virtually no insight into its plans for the plant it had just acquired, so the public release of this proposal last week now sheds some new light on the future of the plant.
While some financials in the proposal released by TVA have been redacted, the proposal states that “The Alabama governor’s economic development experts view this project as the single largest potential economic development project in Alabama.”
We’ll continue to follow the latest developments on this and other stories here at MarionCountyMessenger.com