Got $36M? This Nuke Plant Could be Yours

Unfinished Alabama nuclear power plant goes on auction block next month
By Linda Hervieux,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 17, 2016 7:03 AM CDT
Updated Oct 22, 2016 10:35 AM CDT
Got $36M? This Nuke Plant Could be Yours
The unfinished Bellefonte nuclear power plant goes up for auction next month.   (Tennessee Valley Authority)

It's not the Brooklyn Bridge, but authorities in Alabama do have a nuclear power plant they want to sell you. Minimum bids for the never-finished Bellefonte nuke plant start at $36.4 million, which is essentially the value of the 1,400-acre patch of land on the Tennessee River in Hollywood, Ala., with a couple of reactors thrown in, reports the Times Free Press. That's a fraction of the approximately $5 billion that authorities have spent over nearly a half-century to develop the site, once the state's largest energy project. Work began in 1973 on two nuclear reactors—four were planned—when demand for electric power was growing by 5% a year. But as demand ebbed, the project stalled and, faced with a final price tag of $8 billion, the Tennessee Valley Authority decided to quit while it was behind.

Support for nuclear power waned after the 1979 meltdown at Three Mile Island, per the Washington Post. "Selling the property now is a smart business decision," says the TVA. The auction is set for Nov. 14, and bidding has begun; Phoenix Energy in Nevada has already offered $38 million. Hollywood Mayor Frank "Buster" Duke, who worked at the site as a pipe fitter, hopes a buyer will finish the plant—and generate much-needed jobs. "The plant was 90% complete when TVA quit building it, and I know they would have to change and update some things, but I sure hope somebody could operate it to make power," Duke tells the Times Free Press. (The US Army has a secret nuke facility buried beneath the Greenland ice sheet.)

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