The Tennessee Valley Authority says it plans to focus more on nuclear energy and become less reliant on coal in future. Its 2011 budget, approved at a board meeting last week, reinforces this commitment with almost $900 million in funding approved for nuclear projects.
TVA's budget for fiscal year 2011 includes $248 million for work at the Bellefonte nuclear site in North Alabama to maintain the option for future power generation. Next year, the TVA Board will decide whether to complete construction of Bellefonte 1, which was halted in 1988 when the unit was almost 90% complete. The 2011 budget also includes $635 million for construction of the Watts Bar 2 nuclear facility in East Tennessee, scheduled for completion in 2013.
In comparison, there is $314 million for construction of natural gas-fired power generation and $351 million for environmental improvements at coal-fired plants. The budget also contains $135 million for energy efficiency and demand-response programmes and $70 million for economic development.
"TVA's vision to lead our nation toward a cleaner energy future means relying more on nuclear power, continuing to improve air quality, relying less on coal and sharpening our focus on energy efficiency," CEO Tom Kilgore told board members on 20 August.
Currently, TVA operates 29 hydroelectric dams, 11 coal-fired power plants, three nuclear plants and 11 natural gas-fired power facilities.