TVA to cut 400 jobs at Bellefonte Nuclear Plant

TVA to cut 400 jobs at Bellefonte Nuclear Plant

June 12th, 2013 by Dave Flessner in Local - Breaking News

The Unit 1 turbines sit idle at the Bellefonte nuclear power plant in Hollywood, Ala.

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The Tennessee Valley Authority is cutting 400 contract and TVA employees working at the Bellefonte Nuclear Power Plant in Alabama, sources said today.

By September, TVA expects to have cut its current 540-person staff working at Bellefonte to about 140 workers. TVA spokesman Mike Bradley said the utility will still conduct engineering studies and analysis on the Babcock & Wilcox-design reactors, but the pace of work will slow to better align with future power projections.

TVA is meeting with community leaders and employees in Hollywood, Ala., this morning to outline plans for the staff cuts. Some of the displaced workers are expected to transfer to other TVA nuclear facilities, Bradley said.

TVA was granted a construction permit in December 1974 to build two reactors at the Bellefonte site on the Tennessee River in Jackson County, Ala. But work was halted in 1985 when TVA determined it had no immediate need for the power that could be generated from the twin reactors.

TVA had invested more than $4 billion building the first two reactors at Bellefonte, but in 2009 TVA decided to scrap those original reactors and pursue a new Westinghouse design promoters said would be safer and more efficient. But two years later, TVA reversed course and resurrected a study on the plant when TVA directors approved the restart of construction in 2011.

Delays in completing a second reactor at Watts Bar and a decline in power consumption has again pushed back the need for power from the North Alabama plant.

Read more in Thursday's Times Free Press.