TVA Responds to Erroneous Report on Bellefonte Nuclear Plant

Energy Policy Focus of Roby Town Hall
August 11, 2011
PACE Exclusive Interview with NAM President Jay Timmons
August 24, 2011

As reported by The Clarion on August 10th, the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) has issued a response to the Southern Alliance for Clean Energy concerning the Bellefonte Nuclear Plant site near Scottsboro, Alabama. In a report issued the previous day and through a web conference with media, the organization lodged a number of complaints about safety issues at the plant. A final decision about whether to move forward with the Bellefonte plant, which is now 55% complete, will be made at an August 18th meeting of the TVA Board in Knoxville.

According to statements made by TVA, “A modernized, completed Bellefonte Unit 1 would essentially be a new unit, using the latest equipment and technology to meet the latest safety standards and regulations, including seismic and flooding requirements. The facility would be among the safest, most advanced nuclear sites in the country. As lessons are learned from the events in Japan, TVA would be able to incorporate changes on the front end of Bellefonte design and construction instead of having to retrofit the changes after construction. That’s an advantage Bellefonte has over all operating nuclear plants.”

TVA officials went on to point out several pieces of misinformation in the report, as detailed in this fact sheet provided by TVA.

The report by the Southern Alliance for Clean Energy was written by Arnie Gunderson, Chief Engineer of Fairewinds Associates, who begins a video testimonial on the organization’s site by pointing out that Bellefonte was designed in 1968. Mr. Gunderson begins his criticism by stating that “engineers used slide rules back then.” We wonder what Mr. Gunderson thinks of other, perhaps better known structures, such as the Hoover Dam or the Washington Monument which were also designed with (gasp!) slide rules and antiquated engineering devices.

What the Southern Alliance for Clean Energy calls a gamble, others might call an investment. The fact is that, once complete, the reactor at Bellefonte will deliver 1,260 MW of emission-free power to businesses and homes in the Tennessee Valley. PACE supports the completion of this important project and encourages all of those for whom reliable and affordable power is a priority to support Bellefonte, as well. To keep the Valley growing, we’re going to need more base-load power. You can bet on that.