In an Integrated Resource Plan released for public comment earlier this month, the Tennessee Valley Authority pulled the plug on its 1,260-megawatt Bellefonte Unit 1 nuclear plant, a partially complete project that has been under construction since 1974.
“The last time the board looked at the Bellefonte project in 2012, it voted to spend $6 billion to complete it by about 2020,” writes Neutron Bytes publisher Dan Yurman. “In the meantime, the country has been flooded with cheap natural gas,” for which “licensing and regulatory costs are peanuts compared to completing a decades-old reactor.”
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Estimated completion costs for the project rose dramatically in 2013, from $5 billion to between $7.4 and $8.9 billion, and “cost overruns at four reactors under construction in Georgia and South Carolina may also have given TVA a case of cold feet in committing to completing Bellefonte,” he writes.
“Other elements of the new TVA energy plan include closing older coal-fired plants as new gas plants are built, and generating more electricity from solar and wind sources. Improving energy efficiency will be a long-term effort.”
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