US utility Tennessee Valley Authority is abandoning a long-standing plan to build new generation Westinghouse AP1000 reactors at its Bellefonte NPP in Alabama.
TVA President Bill Johnson said that TVA is keeping open the option of finishing the original two reactors at Bellefonte, but that those plans are still under review. A long-range power plan finished last year for TVA projects that TVA will have no need of a new NPP for more than two decades.
"We have no plans to restart construction (which has been suspended at Bellefonte for the past two decades)," Johnson told reporters. "We're spending a maintenance amount on that asset just for physical security, but that is not a big drag on our costs."
Johnson said power demand is growing at a sluggish pace and additional natural gas plants and renewable energy sources should meet the projected demand after TVA finishes its Watts Bar NPP this year. TVA continues to work to finish the unit 2 reactor at the Watt Bar NPP this spring and Johnson said TVA is still developing a site in Oak Ridge to possibly build small modular reactors.
Environmental groups have opposed construction of a new nuclear reactor at Bellefonte and intervened in the NRC review of the AP1000 design. TVA's work at Bellefonte has been challenged before the Atomic Safety and Licensing Board by the Southern Alliance for Clean Energy, Blue Ridge Environmental Defense League and the Bellefonte Efficiency and Sustainability Team/Mothers Against Tennessee River Radiation. Thesegroups appealed to the TVA board on 11 February to give up on Bellefonte units 3 and 4
"We strongly encourage TVA to go ahead and close the books on the 42-year old Bellefonte 1 and 2 reactor units, which will never be completed, saving more money and allowing Northern Alabama to move into the 21st century with new economic opportunities like Google, energy efficiency and clean solar power," said Dr Stephen A. Smith, executive director of the Southern Alliance for Clean Energy, in a statement.