Unfinished nuclear plant sold, buyer vows to get it running

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (AP) — A development company that purchased an unfinished nuclear plant from the Tennessee Valley Authority for $111 million on Monday plans to complete the site as a nuclear power generator and will spend billions more to do it, a representative said. A spokesman said Nuclear...

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (AP) — A development company that purchased an unfinished nuclear plant from the Tennessee Valley Authority for $111 million on Monday plans to complete the site as a nuclear power generator and will spend billions more to do it, a representative said.

A spokesman said Nuclear Development LLC — formed by Tennessee businessman Franklin L. Haney and based in Washington, D.C. — had been interested for years in finishing the Bellefonte Nuclear Plant at Hollywood, Alabama. It paid more than three times the minimum bid for the property.

Completing and operating the plant, which lies along the Tennessee River in northeastern Alabama, will involve thousands of jobs, said spokesman Bud Cramer, a former congressman who represented north Alabama.

"This will be billions of dollars" in spending, said Cramer, who now works as a lobbyist.

Nuclear Development still must finalize financing for the project, said Cramer, and it also must transfer Bellefonte's operating license from TVA through the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.

The Haney Co. has a development portfolio worth more than $10 billion with holdings in several states and the nation's capital, according to its website. Its past involvement with TVA includes development of a computer center in Chattanooga, Tennessee.

The purchaser has two years to finalize the sale, said TVA spokesman Scott Fiedler. One other company bid on the plant, he said.

TVA began work at the Bellefonte site in the mid-1970s, but it never finished the two-reactor plant as growth in the demand for electricity waned. The utility said it has spent about $5 billion at the plant, parts of which have been removed and sold.

The purchaser gets two unfinished reactors, several buildings and 1,600 acres of land on the Tennessee River.

Sales of U.S. nuclear plants aren't rare. The Nuclear Energy Institute, an industry group, says at least 30 units have been sold in part or whole since 1999.

TVA, the nation's largest public utility, provides electricity for about 9 million people in parts of Alabama, Georgia, Kentucky, Mississippi, North Carolina, Tennessee and Virginia.

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