Bellefonte Nuclear Project
On Aug. 18, 2011, the TVA board of directors approved the completion of Bellefonte Nuclear Plant Unit 1 in Hollywood, Ala. Construction will start after the design phase is completed and after Watts Bar Unit 2, now being built, completes its first fuel load. When it begins commercial operation Bellefonte's 1,260 megawatt reactor will be the largest in TVA's nuclear fleet. Bellefonte's output will be equal to the electricity needs of 750,000 homes, and its power will cost less than most other energy alternatives.
Why TVA needs more nuclear power
TVA’s vision is to be one of the nation’s leading providers of low-cost and cleaner energy by 2020. Even with increases in energy efficiency and demand response programs, TVA will need more energy capacity to achieve its vision and meet growing demand in the Tennessee Valley region.
TVA’s Integrated Resource Plan, completed in March 2011 after more than two years of development, calls for future generation from a balanced mix of reliable, cleaner and competitively priced sources that include more nuclear power.
TVA is a leader in the production of safe carbon-free nuclear energy to support economic growth in the Southeast. Nuclear is the best technology for keeping reliability high and rates competitive. It is cleaner and less expensive than coal and produces no harmful greenhouse gases.
Nuclear power provides about one-third of the electricity generated by TVA and about 70 percent of TVA’s clean generation. By increasing nuclear generation, pursuing renewable energy sources and promoting energy efficiency, TVA will rely less on coal and continue steady progress in reducing air emissions.
How Bellefonte Unit 1 will help
TVA’s Integrated Resource Plan determined that completing Bellefonte Unit 1 was the least-cost option for meeting TVA’s future power needs and environmental requirements. Once built, nuclear plants produce electricity more cheaply than coal or natural gas, mainly because nuclear fuel is relatively inexpensive and prices are stable. Nuclear plants also are free from the regulatory uncertainty and rising costs of emission controls.
Bellefonte Unit 1 uses pressurized water reactor technology that has proven safe and reliable after decades of use in the nuclear power industry and the nuclear-powered vessels of the U.S. Navy. Completing Unit 1 may save TVA as much as $1.5 billion over building a new Westinghouse AP1000 reactor.
Modernizing and completing Unit 1 is TVA’s best option for achieving its vision of clean, reliable power at significantly less cost than alternatives. When updated with the latest nuclear technology, Unit 1 will be a major asset that delivers good value to TVA distributors and their customers.
To complete Unit 1, TVA will use the existing containment building, cooling tower and infrastructure valued at nearly $2 billion. TVA will modernize the internal components and add more than $2 billion in new equipment, including steam generators, a modern control room and state-of-the-art digital instruments.
When completed, the facility will be among the safest, most advanced nuclear units in the nation. It will meet or exceed current regulatory standards for natural disasters, including tornadoes, floods and earthquakes. And it will incorporate lessons learned from the earthquake and tsunami at the Fukushima nuclear plant in Japan, including all regulatory requirements and industry recommendations resulting from that event.
With upgrades, modernization and equipment replacements, Bellefonte Unit 1 will be virtually new and will help meet the region’s power needs for decades.
Construction of Bellefonte Unit 1 will cost $4.9 billion. The project will create about 2,800 jobs during construction and about 650 permanent jobs once it begins operating.
Vital statistics about Bellefonte Unit 1
- Location: Hollywood, Ala.
- Acreage: 1,500 acres on Guntersville Lake
- Babcock & Wilcox pressurized water reactor with an electrical output of 1,260 megawatts -- equal to the electricity needs of about 750,000 homes.
- Fuel: Reactor core holds 205 fuel assemblies, each containing 264 fuel rods. Each rod contains 354 pellets of low-enriched uranium dioxide fuel.
- One fuel pellet (1/2-inch by 1/2-inch) has the energy of 149 gallons of oil or one ton of coal
- The 12 cubic feet of fuel in the reactor will provide the energy of 2.8 billion gallons of oil
- Height: 43 feet
- Weight: 380 tons (empty)
- Inside diameter: 15.5 feet
- Steel thickness: 9 inches
- Operating temperature: 600 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Operating pressure: 2,200 pounds per square inch (PSI)
- Inside height: 267 feet
- Inside diameter: 135 feet
- Concrete thickness: 3.5 feet
- Steel liner thickness: quarter-inch
- Design pressure: 50 pounds per square inch gauge (PSIG)
Steam generators (2)
- Height: 75.5 feet
- Weight: 504 tons
- Inside diameter: 11.5 feet
- Steel thickness: 5.75 inches
- Operating temperature: 600 degrees Fahrenheit
- Operating pressure: 1,060 pounds per square inch (PSI)
- Height: 14 feet
- Length: 43.5 feet
- Stator weight: 444 tons
- Rotor weight: 233 tons
- Ratings: 1,260 megawatts electric/24,000 volts
- Speed: 1,800 rpm
- High pressure: (1) 11-stage axial turbine
- Low pressure: (2) 7-stage axial turbines
- Maximum blade diameter: 17 feet
- Rotor weight: 225 tons
- Height: 500 feet
- Diameter: 400 feet at ground level
- Water flow: 410,000 gallons a minute
- Electric cable: 15 million feet
- Conduit: 1 million feet
- Concrete: 500,000 cubic yards
- Rebar: 24,000 tons
- Large bore pipes: 385,000 feet
- 500,000-volt transmission lines: 4
- 161,000-volt transmission lines: 2