12.10.20 – BELLEFONTE NUCLEAR PLANT
The Bellefonte Nuclear Generating Station is an unfinished nuclear power plant in Hollywood, Ala. operated by the Tennessee Valley Authority. A total of four nuclear reactors have been proposed for the site over a 40-year period at a cost of more than $4 billion, but no nuclear reactor nor electric generating plant was ever completed. While most construction was halted in 1988, TVA continued to scale back plans for the site as electricity costs fell and the company faced rising costs from the massive 2008 coal ash spill at their Kingston Fossil Plant. By 2015 TVA determined that the Bellefonte’s potential baseload power was unneeded for the next 20 years and moved to auction the plant.
A private developer – Nuclear Development LLC, led by Franklin L. Haney – purchased Bellefonte for $111 million in 2016. With plans to complete two reactor units, Haney purportedly agreed to pay Trump lawyer Michael Cohen $10 million in exchange for obtaining federal funding for the project. According to the Chattanooga Times Free Press, Haney says he hired Cohen to pursue investment from a Qatari sovereign fund and that neither he nor Cohen sought to lobby Trump about Dept. of Energy loan guarantees. TVA pulled out of the sale agreement in 2018, citing failure by Haney to obtain regulatory approvals. Haney has filed suit to force the completion of the sale, and the case is set for trial this month.