Deal to purchase Bellefonte Nuclear Power Plant is off

Bellefonte Nuclear Power Plant
Bellefonte Nuclear Power Plant(Source: WAFF)
Updated: Nov. 30, 2018 at 5:56 PM CST
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JACKSON COUNTY, AL (WAFF) - The deal for Tennessee valley Authority to sell the partially completed Bellefonte Nuclear Power Plant in Jackson County has been derailed. Officials with Nuclear Development say they’ve been told by TVA they will not close on the deal.

Nuclear Development was set to purchase the property for over $110 million.

The future of the plant has been in question for decades.

The final date to close on the sale has passed, and TVA informed Nuclear Development late Thursday that the deal was off. An extension was granted by TVA but Nuclear Development officials stated on Friday that TVA would not grant another.

According to TVA, Nuclear Development had not acquired a license to own a nuclear plant.

TVA’s official statement is as follows:

"On Nov. 30, 2018, the parties were unable to complete the sale of the Bellefonte property after Nuclear Development’s lack of progress in meeting its legal obligations related to future ownership of the site. Nuclear Development did not complete the necessary NRC license transfer prior to the closing date as required by the Atomic Energy Act.

TVA declined to provide a contract extension beyond the nearly 25 months already provided due to Nuclear Development’s lack of diligence in completing these required activities. We remain committed to returning the Bellefonte property to productive use to benefit the residents of northeastern Alabama as soon as possible."

WAFF 48 News has learned that Nuclear Development was lining up customers, one of those believed to be TVA’s largest customer. TVA officials said this was not a factor in cutting the deal and that is was strictly about the license.

Officials with Nuclear Development say this is a setback but it’s not going to be over yet. They said there will likely be a lawsuit filed soon.

[READ MORE: North Alabama’s multibillion dollar nuclear plant progresses]

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Former Alabama Rep. Bud Cramer, who is a lobbyist/liaison for Nuclear Development said it was their option that they could not accept the transfer of ownership because Nuclear Development does not have a license from the NRC.

“Nuclear Development has a difference of opinion. If Nuclear Development feels like they’ve done their due diligence under the contract terms that it was not up to them to cause the license to be transferred. The license was held by TVA," Cramer said. “Nuclear Development has filed paperwork as required by NRC to accept the transfer but it was up to TVA to do due diligence on that and they have not. So we’re in a legal dispute at this particular point.”

Nuclear Development officials say they’ve done everything they were supposed to do.

Our news partners at WMC learned that earlier this month, Nuclear Development approached Memphis, Tennessee and Memphis Light Gas and Water officials about leaving TVA and buying power from them when the Bellefonte plant is completed. They cited Memphis could save some $400 million annually.

Alabama Sen. Steve Livingston is disappointed about the loss of jobs that would have meant for the Hollywood, Alabama community. He said he’s heard there would have been about 1,200 permanent jobs.

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