Whatever happened to ... Nuclear vessel plant still planned

Whatever happened to ... Nuclear vessel plant still planned

April 14th, 2013 by Ben Benton in Local Regional News

Netherlands-based Chicago Bridge & Iron Co. hasn't moved forward on plans to build a nuclear vessel assembly plant on more than 60 acres on the Tennessee River in Marion County, Tenn.

Photo by Ben Benton/Times Free Press.

Question: Whatever happened to Chicago Bridge & Iron, which planned to build a $110 million plant in Marion County with 250 to 350 jobs?

Answer: A struggling economy and a worldwide cool-down of the nuclear industry idled Chicago Bridge & Iron's plans for a plant in New Hope, Tenn., to build nuclear storage vessels.

But environmental impact studies and permit applications filed with state and federal authorities are complete, officials say.

Marion County Mayor John Graham said Friday that CB&I officials last fall were preparing to renew the site's nuclear certification, which expired in January.

"It's my understanding that they've done that," Graham said.

CB&I paid $1.11 million for a little over 60 acres of Tennessee River frontage in 2008 and 2009 for a proposed 500,000-square-foot building, a 4,700-foot rail extension, a barge terminal and a 320-foot dock, documents show.

CB&I spokeswoman Jan Seiving did not return calls requesting comment, but in June 2011 said the company was waiting for a nuclear industry rebound.

According to the U.S. Energy Information Association, the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission has active applications for 28 new reactors, though only a handful have moved forward.

EIA projects the industry will add approximately 19.1 gigawatts of nuclear capacity between 2012 and 2040, with 11 gigawatts coming from new reactors.

This update was written by staff writer Ben Benton. Contact him at bbenton@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6569. To suggest a topic for "Whatever happened to," email news@timesfree press.com.