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TVA earmarks money for nuclear reactor

NORTH MISSISSIPPI — The board of directors for the Tennessee Valley Authority approved nearly $250 million toward the possible reopening one of its nuclear reactors in Alabama.

The board last Friday in Knoxville approved the fiscal year 2011 budget that included $248 million to fund the initial engineering design and site preparation for Unit 1 at the Bellefonte Nuclear Plant. Final approval for the project is not expected until next year.

Construction at the plant in Northeast Alabama was started in 1974 but was stopped in 1988. The Nuclear Regulatory Commission in 2009 approved TVA’s request to reinstate Bellefonte’s original construction permits while the utility evaluated its two reactor sites.

Knoxville-based TVA, the nation’s largest public utility, serves about 9 million consumers in Tennessee, Alabama, Mississippi, Kentucky, Georgia, North Carolina and Virginia.

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