The Tennessee Valley Authority's 1,260-MW, partially built Bellefonte unit in northern Alabama could be the first nuclear reactor in the country completed by a family business, not a utility.

Preston Swafford, SNC-Lavalin's chief nuclear officer, told ENR that its client, Nuclear Development LLC, a family business established by Franklin Haney, is awaiting approval of $4.5 billion in loan guarantees, which are under review by the U.S. Energy Dept., and has secured tax credits. Haney unveiled his plans at a news conference in Hollywood, Ala., on July 30.

"Significant progress has been made, and a host of suppliers and contractors have been brought aboard in anticipation of moving forward soon," U.S. Rep. Mo Brooks (R-Ala.) said in a statement following Haney's news conference.

Nuclear Development, which won development rights at the site in a 2016 TVA auction,  chose SNC-Lavalin in June as the EPC contractor to refurbish Unit 1, abandoned by TVA when it was about 90% complete. TVA agreed to sell the site as surplus and accepted Haney's $111-million bid for the 1,600-acre site with two partially completed 1,260-MW Babcock & Wilcox pressurized water reactors. TVA had spent $5 billion to build the reactors before construction stopped in 1988.

The sale should close in coming weeks, Swafford said. About 70% to 80% of the work would be completed under a lump sum contract with SNC-Lavalin, Swafford said. The remaining work will upgrade nonnuclear technology. The cost to complete is expected to be from $3.5 billion to $6 billion. “It is more predictable than a new build,” he said. Completion would take five or six years.

On July 31, Sargent & Lundy announced it will support SNC-Lavalin's work, including completion of engineering and design for various plant systems, structures and programs.