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TVA says sale of Bellefonte nuclear plant to Haney would be illegal until regulators approve deal

TVA says sale of Bellefonte nuclear plant to Haney would be illegal until regulators approve deal, TVA defends decision to scrap sale of nuclear plant

February 5th, 2019, by Dave Flessner

The Tennessee Valley Authority says it cannot complete the sale of its Bellefonte Nuclear Power Plant to developer Franklin L. Haney because Haney doesn’t have a license yet to operate the unfinished twin-reactor plant in Alabama.

In a 25-page legal brief filed in federal court Monday, TVA attorneys contend that any sale to Haney would be illegal under the Atomic Energy Act since Haney is trying to acquire and eventually operate the nuclear plant without a properly approved permit.

Haney’s company, Nuclear Development LLC , was the top bidder for Bellefonte at a TVA auction of the abandoned plant in November 2016. But Nuclear Development only filed a license transfer application with the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) to take over TVA’s construction permit on the Bellefonte plant on Nov. 13, 2018 — two weeks after the sale was originally supposed to close and only 17 days before an extended deadline for the sale on Nov. 30.

TVA told Haney the day before the Nov. 30 sale was supposed to be completed that it could not sell Bellefonte as a nuclear plant without approval of the license transfer by the NRC. In the sales agreement with Haney, TVA said “federal law at all times govern the validity, interpretation and enforceability” of the sale………..

The legal fight over whether TVA must now sell the Bellefonte plant to Haney is moving in some uncharted waters since the NRC has not previously transferred a deferred construction permit on a nuclear plant to a private individual or a company that has not previously operated a nuclear plant. NRC spokesman Scott Burnell said last month that the NRC staff is still reviewing Haney’s application to take over the deferred construction permit.

Although no active construction has occurred at Bellefonte in nearly a decade, TVA has maintained the plant in deferred status…………

Aided by more than $2 billion in production tax credits for new nuclear generation allocated for Bellefonte and the prospect of $5 billion or more in federal loan guarantees for the project, Haney claims he should be able to finish the reactors at a cost allowing him to deliver power as much as $500 million a year cheaper for electricity users.

But Haney, a former Chattanooga real estate developer who now lives in south Florida, has no previous experience owning or operating a nuclear plant. Haney has amassed a fortune over the past four decades buying, developing and leasing properties to TVA, the Internal Revenue Service and other government agencies and airports, along with hotels, office buildings and other developments.

Haney said he is assembling a team of top engineering, design and construction firms with experience in the nuclear power industry to finish building Bellefonte.

Haney, who contributed more than $1 million to President Trump’s inaugural fund through a limited partnership known as HFNWA and once hired Haney’s personal attorney Michael Cohen to help with the Bellefonte project, has applied for federal loan guarantees for Bellefonte. The U.S. Department of Energy is still considering Haney’s loan application……… https://www.timesfreepress.com/news/breakingnews/story/2019/feb/05/tva-says-bellefonte-illegal/488049/

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February 7, 2019 - Posted by | legal, USA

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