Single Nuclear Unit at the Bellefonte Plant Site
Jackson County, Alabama
On August 31, 2011, TVA issued a second record of decision (ROD) in support of its proposal to construct and operate a single nuclear unit at the Bellefonte site in Hollywood, Alabama. This ROD documents the TVA Board of Directors’ (TVA Board) August 18, 2011, approval to construct and operate of Bellefonte Unit 1, a partially completed 1,260-megawatt (MW) Babcock and Wilcox (B&W)-designed nuclear unit. The ROD includes mitigation measures TVA will use to minimize potential environmental impacts from construction and operation of Bellefonte Unit 1.
On August 20, 2010, the TVA Board of Directors approved the expenditure of $248 million for additional engineering, design, and licensing activities, as well as the procurement of long lead-time components for the partially complete Bellefonte Unit 1. The ROD documenting this decision was published on September 9, 2010 (75 FR 54961). This action was made in order to maintain Unit 1 as a viable alternative to meet the projected need for base load generation on the TVA system in 2018-2020 until analyses for a new Integrated Resource Plan (IRP) and IRP Final Environmental Impact Statement (FEIS) were completed. The IRP FEIS was issued in March 2011.
Copies of both the September 2010 and the August 2011 Bellefonte RODs are posted here and are available in the Federal Register.
TVA issued the Bellefonte Final Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement (Bellefonte FSEIS) for its proposal to operate a single nuclear generating unit at the Bellefonte plant site on May 12, 2010. In the FSEIS, TVA staff identified Alternative B, completion and operation of Bellefonte Unit 1, as the Preferred Alternative. In support of the Preferred Alternative, the transmission system also would be upgraded.
In making its decision to approve the completion of Bellefonte Unit 1, the TVA Board considered information contained in the Bellefonte FSEIS; the final IRP; a detailed scoping, estimating, and planning study to help establish certainty around the cost estimate and overall schedule; a financial analysis; and a project risk assessment and analyses in response to the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Plant accident in Japan. The risk assessment identified multiple levels of risk and recommended mitigation actions for certain key risks associated with a decision to proceed with either unit. The financial analysis evaluated the impact of completing or constructing Bellefonte Unit 1 on rates and revenue requirements and on TVA debt.
Completing Bellefonte Unit 1 will meet a substantial portion of TVA’s future generating needs and provide a low carbon-emitting power source at a significantly lower cost per installed kilowatt than other generation options. Operation of a nuclear unit at the Bellefonte site will supply reliable, low-cost power, afford increased operating flexibility, and provide additional fuel cost stability to reduce risk from volatile fuel prices.
The Bellefonte site is located in northeast Alabama on 1,600 acres adjacent to Guntersville Reservoir at Tennessee River Mile 392, near the town of Hollywood and the city of Scottsboro (see location map). Construction permits for two 1,200-MW pressurized water reactors (Units 1 and 2) were issued in 1974. TVA halted construction in 1988 in response to decreased power demand. The plant was maintained in deferred status until 2005 when TVA canceled Units 1 and 2 to facilitate consideration of other uses of the site. In 2007, as part of the NuStart Energy Development Consortium’s effort to demonstrate the feasibility of processing a combined license application (COLA), TVA submitted a COLA to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) for the siting of two AP1000 advanced pressurized water reactors (Units 3 and 4). However, no decision has been made by TVA on whether to propose to construct and operate Units 3 and 4.
In August 2008, in response to changes in power generation economics since 2005 and other considerations, TVA requested reinstatement of the construction permits for Units 1 and 2 to give TVA the opportunity to evaluate the engineering and economic feasibility of completing those units. Both units are now being maintained and preserved in construction-deferred status.
TVA prepared the Bellefonte FSEIS to inform decision makers and the public about the potential environmental impacts that would result from a decision to complete and operate a single B&W unit (Alternative B) or construct and operate a new Westinghouse AP1000 unit (Alternative C). The FSEIS also evaluated the potential environmental effects of the No Action Alternative. A number of other alternatives were considered but not assessed in detail. The potential effects of refurbishing, reenergizing, and upgrading several existing 161-kilovolt (kV) and 500-kV transmission lines and switchyards needed for single-unit operation were also evaluated.
TVA completed work on the final IRP, a comprehensive study of alternatives for meeting future electrical energy needs of the Tennessee Valley over the next 20 years, in early March 2011. This plan replaces Energy Vision 2020, which was an integrated resource plan completed in 1995 that included an analysis of completing one or two nuclear units at the Bellefonte site. Information about the new IRP is available here. Bringing a nuclear unit online requires a long lead time. Completing the FSEIS for a single unit at the Bellefonte site while simultaneously developing the 2011 final IRP helped to preserve Bellefonte Unit 1 as a resource option and better ensure that a new generating unit can be built in time to meet the projected demand for base load energy.
TVA invited comments on the Bellefonte FSEIS during the required 30-day-wait period. After publication of the draft supplemental environmental impact statement (DSEIS), TVA made a number of changes in planning assumptions as part of the normal business planning cycle. TVA also purchased additional wind energy, further refined plans for reducing emissions, and updated its consideration of energy efficiency and demand response programs in the load forecast. Due to these and other changes in response to comments on the DSEIS, TVA provided an opportunity for public comment on the Bellefonte FSEIS. The 30-day period began on May 21, 2010, and ended on June 21, 2010. Comments were received from nine individuals, one state agency, and one federal agency. These comments were taken into consideration in TVA’s decision-making process and are addressed in both the August 2010 and the August 2011 Bellefonte RODs.
Earlier, TVA accepted comments on the DSEIS from November 13 through December 28, 2009. A public meeting was held in Scottsboro, Alabama, on December 8, 2009. Comments were received from 35 individuals and four state and federal agencies. Responses to these comments are included in Appendix C of the Bellefonte FSEIS.
The documents below may be accessed by clicking on the underlined link. PDF files require Adobe Acrobat Reader. Paper or CD ROM copies may be requested from the contacts listed below.
Record of Decision
TVA – August 2011
Record of Decision
TVA – August 2010
Complete Final Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement, Volume 1 (PDF, 7.3 mb)
Complete text of the FSEIS, Volume 1.
Complete Final Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement, Volume 2 (PDF, 25.6 mb)
Complete text of FSEIS, Volume 2 - Appendices.
Abstract, Summary and Table of Contents (PDF, 498 kb)
Cover page, abstract; summary of the issues, alternatives considered, environmental effects; table of contents; and table of acronyms, abbreviations, and symbols.
Chapter 1: Purpose of and Need for Action (PDF, 537 kb)
Decision to be made; background; need for power; NEPA process description; scoping and issues to be addressed; other pertinent environmental reviews and tiering; and permits, licenses, and approvals.
Chapter 2: Alternatives Including the Proposed Action (PDF, 3.2 mb)
Alternatives considered, comparison of alternatives, impacts summary, and mitigation.
Chapter 3: Nuclear Generation Alternatives on the Bellefonte Site – Affected Environment and Environmental Consequences (PDF, 6 mb)
Detailed description of the affected human and natural environment and a discussion of the environmental consequences to the affected resources under the proposed alternatives.
Chapter 4: Transmission System Alternatives – Affected Environment and Environmental Consequences (PDF, 927 kb)
Detailed description of the affected human and natural environment and the environmental consequences associated with proposed transmission upgrades to support the operation of a nuclear plant.
Chapter 5: Other Effects (PDF, 193 kb)
Unavoidable adverse environmental impacts, relationship between short-term uses and long-term productivity of the human environment, irreversible and irretrievable commitments of resources, energy resources and conservation potential.
Chapters 6, 7, and 8: Supporting Information (PDF, 410 kb)
List of preparers, list of agencies to whom copies are sent, and literature cited.
Glossary and Index (PDF, 296 kb)
Cover Page, Table of Contents (PDF, 53 kb)
Appendix A (PDF, 5.2 mb)
TVA August 2009 Letter Requesting Deferred Status and NRC January 2010 Letter Authorizing BLN Units 1 and 2 Deferred Status
Appendix B (PDF, 1.5 mb)
NRC Reports on 2009 BLN Inspection for Transition to Deferred Status
Appendix C (PDF, 3.4 mb)
Responses to Agency and Public Comments
Appendix D (PDF, 7.1 kb)
Sensitive Area Review Process
Appendix E (PDF, 7.9 kb)
CORMIX Modeling Results
Appendix F (PDF, 9.8 mb)
Wetlands Field Delineation and Habitat Assessment Forms
Appendix G (PDF, 199 kb)
Reservoir Fish Assemblage Index (RFAI), Reservoir Benthic Index (RBI) Scores, and Historical Fish Species Occurrences
Appendix H (PDF, 17 mb)
Appendix I (PDF, 158 kb)
BLN Meteorological Tower Data, April 1, 2006, to September 24, 2008
Appendix J (PDF, 226 kb)
BLN Meteorological Tower Data, Comparison of Data From Different Periods
Appendix K (PDF, 135 kb)
Tornadoes in Jackson County, Alabama, 1980 to 2008
Appendix L (PDF, 148 kb)
Power System Operations Environmental Protection Procedures Right-of-Way Vegetation Management Guidelines
Appendix M (PDF, 146 kb)
Tennessee Valley Authority Environmental Quality Protection Specifications for Transmission Line Construction
Appendix N (PDF, 152 kb)
Tennessee Valley Authority Transmission Construction Guidelines Near Streams
Appendix O (PDF, 204 kb)
State-Listed Animal and Plant Species Present in Areas Affected by Transmission Line Work
Key Related Documents
Final Environmental Statement, Bellefonte Nuclear Plant Units 1 And 2
TVA – May 1974
Environmental Statement Related to Construction of Bellefonte Nuclear
Plant Units 1 and 2, Tennessee Valley Authority, Docket Nos. 50-438
Atomic Energy Commission (AEC) – June 1974
Bellefonte Nuclear Plant Units 1 & 2, Final Safety Analysis Report,
TVA – 1991
Sections of this document are available on request from TVA (see contact information below).
Final Environmental Impact Statement for the Bellefonte Conversion Project.
TVA – October 1997
Final Environmental Impact Statement for the Production of Tritium in
a Commercial Light Water Reactor
Department of Energy (DOE) – March 1999
DOE limits access to this environmental impact statement. To request a copy, please contact Denise Freeman by e-mail at email@example.com or by leaving a message on DOE's toll-free information line at (800) 472-2756.
Additionally, the following documents are currently available on NRC’s Web site:
Bellefonte Nuclear Plant Units 3 & 4, Combined License Application, Part 3, Environmental Report, Rev 1
TVA – October 2008
Bellefonte Nuclear Plant Units 3 & 4, Combined License Application, Part 2, Final Safety Analysis Report, Rev 1
TVA – January 2009
To obtain a copy of the Bellefonte FSEIS, contact:
Ruth M. Horton
NEPA Project Manager
Tennessee Valley Authority
400 West Summit Hill Dr., WT 11D
Knoxville, TN 37902
Phone: (865) 632-3719
Printed copies of the final SEIS are available for viewing at most public libraries and courthouses in the area.
For general information on the project, contact:
Bellefonte Unit 1 Licensing Manager, Nuclear Generation Development and Construction,
Tennessee Valley Authority
P.O. Box 2000, OSB 1A-BLN
Hollywood, Alabama 35752
For more information, call 800-882-5264, or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org. In the subject line, type “Bellefonte.” Please include your U.S. Postal Service mailing address.