TVA said its integrated assessment of the two alternatives (build all new or complete unit 1) has resulted in identifying the completion of unit 1 (one of the partially completed B&W units) as the preferred project.
The FEIS is the fourth of five detailed studies being prepared to support a future decision by the TVA board about whether to operate a nuclear reactor at Bellefonte. The fifth study will evaluate the financing options to support construction. TVA directors are expected to make a decision on the proposed nuclear unit at a meeting scheduled for 20 August. The authority is also in the process of developing an Integrated Resource Plan to help identify regional electricity needs over the next two years.
Work began on two PWRs at Bellefonte in the 1970s but construction was suspended in 1988 when power demand fell. At that point, unit 1 was 88% complete and unit 2 about 58% complete.
In a unique regulatory move, the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) has since reinstated the construction licences for the partially built plants, restoring the status of the cancelled reactors first to “terminated” and then, in January 2010, to “deferred” status. The reinstated construction licences for Bellefonte units 1 and 2 are due to expire in 2011 and 2014 respectively.
TVA has already completed four mothballed reactors (three units at Browns Ferry and Watts Bar unit 1) and is working on a project to bring a fifth (Watts Bar unit 2) into service by 2013.
Bellefonte was originally chosen by the NuStart consortium as the reference COL application for the AP1000, but the consortium subsequently decided to transfer the reference application to the Vogtle site in Georgia, where Southern Nuclear Operating Company has plans for two of the units.