State Sen. Livingston ‘very optimistic’ on Bellefonte Nuclear’s future — ‘Can be as big as’ Mazda Toyota
For decades, the Bellefonte Nuclear Plant has sat dormant on the shores of the Tennessee River near Hollywood in the very northeastern corner of Alabama.
At various times throughout that period, the people of Jackson County had seen signs of life at the facility, which if the plant were to become operational, it would be an economic winner for the area. But inevitably, they have their hopes dashed, be it by the Tennessee Valley Authority or other actors.
However, during an interview with Huntsville’s WVNN on Thursday, State Sen. Steve Livingston (R-Scottsboro) said there was reason to be more optimistic than not with the current efforts of Nuclear Development LLC, the prospective buyer of the facility.
“This project is basically built,” Livingston said on “The Jeff Poor Show.” “If we’re fortunate to get both reactors going, we’re looking at the possibility of having some 7,000 construction jobs out there for maybe as long as 10 years. It would be cyclical as maybe one reactor would come on, then they would bring the construction to other one up to speed slowly, but surely – then operating 1,200-1,500 operators for both reactors. Well-paying jobs. It’s all about economic development here.”
The Jackson County Republican explained his efforts to make the 2020 Republican U.S. Senate hopefuls aware of the project and what they could do to help make Bellefonte Nuclear Plant operational.
“Every one of them has been to Jackson County,” he said. “I’ve had a conversation with them about it. I want to make sure they know about it and make sure it is primetime on our radar and something we need to get in there. They all want to know how they can help. I said, ‘Well, right now we’ve got to get it out of the court system.’ If we go from there, we understand that maybe all the paperwork has been filed with [Department of Energy] and they’re waiting to see if they can get a power purchase agreement before they turn loose.”
“I think we’re pretty close – I really do,” Livingston added.
Livingston said in terms of dollars, Bellefonte could be bigger than the Toyota-Mazda automotive manufacturing facility under construction in eastern Limestone County near Huntsville.
“I feel very optimistic,” he said. “I’ve been very much in touch with all the parties that be throughout the course of this thing. There are some components that have got to be taken care of. I don’t see them as big items. This can be as big as the Toyota-Mazda project going in out at Greenbrier, or bigger actually. It could be much more investment. DOE had told Nuclear Development they had thought it was going to be about a $13 billion investment to bring it up to speed. Nuclear Development and its various parties seem to think they can do it for probably between $6-8 billion.”