On September 22, 2005, NuStart Energy Development—a consortium of ten nuclear utilities and reactor designers—announced it would seek a permit to construct and operate a new nuclear reactor at the Bellefonte site in northern Alabama. The site is approximately six miles northeast of Scottsboro and owned by the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA), which, in 1988, halted construction on two reactors mid-way through and after spending $4.6 billion on the project.
On October 30, 2007, NuStart submitted its application for a Combined Operating License (COL) to the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC). To view TVA's application, click here.
The application seeks approval to build and operate two AP1000 reactors. The AP100 is a 1,100 MWe pressurized water reactor design that was certified by the NRC in 2006. The regulatory review is expected to take approximately three years, and construction is expected to take about four years. The best-case scenario (from NuStart’s perspective) would see the new reactor operational in 2015.
In addition, TVA has petitioned the Nuclear Regulatory Commission to reinstate construction permits for its two partially constructed units. The new reactors and completion of the original units could cost TVA up to an estimated $20 billion over the next two decades.
The Southern Alliance for Clean Energy and the Blue Ridge Environmental Defense League has jointly filed contentions against the proposal with the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.
The application is one of two that NuStart has submitted. The other is at the Grand Gulf site in Port Gibson, Mississippi, where owner Entergy was granted an Early Site Permit to environmentally qualify the site for a new nuclear reactor on March 28, 2007. Entergy itself is also seeking a COL at its River Bend site in Louisiana.
If you would like to get involved in stopping the construction of new nuclear plants in Alabama, please email us and let us know how you’d like to help. We can provide you with information and strategic advice.