The Tennessee Valley Authority said the unfinished Bellefonte Nuclear Plant in Hollywood, Ala., has been sold at auction for over three times the price of the opening bid of $36.4 million to Washington, D.C. based Nuclear Holdings LLC, which plans to invest $13 billion in the site and complete the nuclear power project.
The Bellefonte construction project has a history rife with fits and starts. Construction was begun in the mid-1970s and never completed. As recently as 2013, TVA was considering proposals to complete the project, even though many of the components once in place at the plant had been stripped out and put to use elsewhere. Then, in 2015, TVA decided there was not enough demand growth to justify completion of the project and the board agreed to putting it up for sale.
If an organization as sophisticated as TVA pronounces the need for a big new plant in the area is superfluous, then many will assume the math has been done and there would be nothing more to do than to hold a funeral for the project.
But Washington, D.C., based Nuclear Holdings, which oversees a $10 billion portfolio, came up with the 11th hour save, putting in the winning bid for the property at $111 million and announcing it intends to complete the 40-year old project.
A plant in northeastern Alabama “can service all the southern states,” said Franklin Haney, a member of the family that owns Nuclear Holdings, referring to the potential customer base for Bellefonte. Haney called the 1,600-acre site, “a great location,” according to a quote in the Associated Press.
There were two bidders in Monday's auction. The other bidder was Jackson Holdings LLC, which stopped bidding at $110 million.
Two other bidders, Phoenix Energy and ACU Strategic Partners dropped out of the process before the final stage that comprised Monday's auction. Reportedly, Phoenix Energy did not secure sufficient funding to take part in the auction, while ACU choose not to attend.
TVA had said it would shed the property in order to allow the region to make use of it for economic development. Said Joe Ritch, executive director of the TVA board of directors, “Glad we were able to finally put it in the hands of someone going forward.”