TVA will reportedly be cutting more than 500 jobs – and reducing the budget by more than $100 million at the Bellefonte nuclear plant in Scottsboro – a move which many say may put the entire project at risk.
Specifically a total of 35 TVA employees and 495 contractors will be losing their positions at the plant – and the budget will be slashed from $182 million to $66 million – that’s a cut of 64%.
That decision comes as the price of natural gas has dropped dramatically – making it difficult for the electric industry to justify the massive costs of new nuclear plants.
Original estimates had the first reactor at Bellefonte back on-line by 2020 – with a projected cost of around $4.9 million.
A similar effort by TVA to finish another of its reactors at Watts Bar in Spring City, Tennessee – has seen cost estimates skyrocket from $2.5 billion to approximately $4.5 billion.
TVA’s Senior Vice-President for Nuclear Construction, Mike Skaggs, said that the reductions at Bellefonte would allow the utility to focus on nearer-term priorities.
Reportedly TVA hasn’t completely given up on Bellefonte – as workers will continue to perform maintenance at the site – and work on an estimate outlining just how much it would cost to finish one of the site’s two reactors.