The Tennessee Valley Authority announced on Oct. 4 that it hired France’s AREVA to begin preliminary steps to complete the 1,200-megawatt Unit 1 at the mothballed Bellefonte Nuclear Generating Station in Hollywood, Ala.

French contractor will restart TVA’s idle powerplant project.
Photo: Courtesy Of Tennessee Valley Authority
French contractor will restart TVA’s idle powerplant project.

Jarret Adams, a spokesman in the design firm’s Bethesda, Md., office, says AREVA’s contract includes the plant’s nuclear island, digital instrumentation, control system and control room.

“This contract is for the preliminary engineering only,” Adams says. “It’s … preliminary and only covers fiscal year 2011. Our contract is a portion of the $248 million that TVA announced for the work.” AREVA’s contract covers engineering, licensing and procurement of long-lead materials in support of a possible 2018-19 start-up date.

In August, TVA board members approved spending to begin initial engineering design and project staffing, preservation and maintenance, long-term procurement and development of a regulatory framework. Additional funds would be needed if the board makes a final decision to complete the unit when it votes in spring 2011.

TVA opted to complete the site’s original reactors instead of building newly designed Westinghouse AP1000 reactors, saying the $4-billion price tag for completion was the less costly alternative.

Bellefonte construction began in 1974 and then was halted in 1988 because of a decrease in power demand and an increase in construction costs. At the time, Unit 1 was 88% complete and Unit 2 was 58% complete.

TVA has maintained the existing facilities since the agency halted construction.

“It’s quite an amazing thing to see,” AREVA’s Adams says. “It’s quite literally a half-complete facility, with buildings and power lines already in place, just waiting for the next step.”

TVA currently operates three active nuclear facilities in Tennessee and Alabama.