Bellefonte Nuclear Plant

PSAD-76-86: Published: Mar 1, 1976. Publicly Released: Mar 1, 1976.

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The Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) has a large commitment to the development of nuclear power, the best short-range assurance of an adequate supply of electricity which is both environmentally acceptable and economical. Bellefonte, TVA's fourth nuclear power plant, is located near Scottsboro, Alabama. Responsibility for licensing nuclear power plants and assurance of safe operations lies with the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC).

TVA's original cost estimate for the Bellefonte Nuclear Plant was $650 million, an estimate based on prior experience and projected inflation. The revised estimate is $1.2 billion. This figure was arrived at by following basic estimating techniques. The increase was caused by inflation, delays, interest costs, and additional construction man-hours. The projected opening of commercial operation has been postponed nearly 3 years, to June 1980, for reasons including delays in gaining access to the site, the collection of environmental impact data, the extension of the construction period, TVA manpower restrictions, and revised NRC guidelines. One such holdup was related to redesigning certain components to meet earthquake resistance standards. NRC and TVA are considering standardization of nuclear plant design to minimize the effect of common delay factors. TVA customarily overlaps later design stages with early phases of construction, which agency officials deem a means of reducing costs. Future modifications may be necessary, but TVA is taking steps to anticipate and mitigate this possibility. To satisfy estimates of electric power demand in TVA's service area, the construction of seven nuclear power plants will be required, and TVA has planned its expansion to conform with this schedule.

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