Skip to main content

Bellefonte: “We're excited. It's been a long time coming.”

Bellefonte Nuclear SiteThe suspense and tension are over:

After hearing about 70 speakers support or oppose nuclear power and the completion of the half-finished Bellefonte Nuclear Plant, the TVA board voted unanimously on Thursday to restart construction.

So it wasn’t even a near thing. But that meeting sounds like it was pretty interesting. The local paper, The Scottsboro (Ala.) Daily Sentinel, sent writer Ken Bonner over to take a listen:

"We're very excited to see it," Jackson County Economic Development Authority President and CEO, Goodrich "Dus" Rogers said. "Now we move into a capitalized project rather than one just in the planning stages."

Rogers, and a group of 26 other people from northeast Alabama who attended the meeting were excited with the outcome. The contingent included 22 people from Jackson County including governmental, business and civic leaders, four from Fort Payne and Guntersville Mayor Bob Hembree.

Jackson County is home to Bellefonte and Scottsboro. Surely, Scottsboro doesn’t want it.

“I'm very happy that this project has finally come to fruition," Scottsboro Mayor Melton Potter said.

Oh.

“A 9-0 vote is a pretty bold statement by that board. It shows they are all on the same page and are unified in doing what is best for the entire service region," Potter added.

But it wasn’t  a complete love feast.

"You can say clean and safe, clean and safe and clean and safe and it's never ever going to be the truth," Anna Haislip of Nashville said through tears.

Almost every story I’ve read about this meeting references Ms. Haislip, apparently an area grandmother. My rule of thumb is to let elders talk at length and about whatever they want – while I listen without interruption or critique – but Ms. Haislip is apparently a very effective advocate for her position. Condescension unappreciated.

But Ms. Haislip has the benefit of having no agenda aside from her own, while anti-nuclear advocates are rather intractably wedded – or is that welded – in place. So the comments from area residents were far more interesting - and virtually all in favor of the plant.

"We're excited. It's been a long time coming," Rick Roden, President and CEO of the Greater Jackson County Chamber of Commerce said. "It means great days for all the people of Jackson County. We expect to see a lot of growth as a result of the vote."

Expectations are high. Industrial, retail and commercial prospects have enquired about locating locally. The anticipation is that the area will get spin off businesses to support the TVA project and will experience rapid growth similar to what occurred in Dayton, Tenn. and the surrounding area when the Unit 2 project began at Watts Bar.

I’ve read that Northern Alabama has about 13 percent unemployment, so even though Bellefonte isn’t expected to go online until about 2018 – there will be about 2800 construction jobs in the interim - ancillary business’ are ready to go. We shouldn’t underestimate what an economic bonanza such a large industrial project represents for its community – it’s not crass, it’s just the way of it in a capitalist system.

Bonner does a terrific job capturing the excitement Bellefonte brings to Scottsboro and Jackson County. Worth a read if your in the mood for a very happy nuclear energy story.

Bellefonte.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

How Nanomaterials Can Make Nuclear Reactors Safer and More Efficient

The following is a guest post from Matt Wald, senior communications advisor at NEI. Follow Matt on Twitter at @MattLWald.

From the batteries in our cell phones to the clothes on our backs, "nanomaterials" that are designed molecule by molecule are working their way into our economy and our lives. Now there’s some promising work on new materials for nuclear reactors.

Reactors are a tough environment. The sub atomic particles that sustain the chain reaction, neutrons, are great for splitting additional uranium atoms, but not all of them hit a uranium atom; some of them end up in various metal components of the reactor. The metal is usually a crystalline structure, meaning it is as orderly as a ladder or a sheet of graph paper, but the neutrons rearrange the atoms, leaving some infinitesimal voids in the structure and some areas of extra density. The components literally grow, getting longer and thicker. The phenomenon is well understood and designers compensate for it with a …

Why America Needs the MOX Facility

If Isaiah had been a nuclear engineer, he’d have loved this project. And the Trump Administration should too, despite the proposal to eliminate it in the FY 2018 budget.

The project is a massive factory near Aiken, S.C., that will take plutonium from the government’s arsenal and turn it into fuel for civilian power reactors. The plutonium, made by the United States during the Cold War in a competition with the Soviet Union, is now surplus, and the United States and the Russian Federation jointly agreed to reduce their stocks, to reduce the chance of its use in weapons. Over two thousand construction workers, technicians and engineers are at work to enable the transformation.

Carrying Isaiah’s “swords into plowshares” vision into the nuclear field did not originate with plutonium. In 1993, the United States and Russia began a 20-year program to take weapons-grade uranium out of the Russian inventory, dilute it to levels appropriate for civilian power plants, and then use it to produce…

Missing the Point about Pennsylvania’s Nuclear Plants

A group that includes oil and gas companies in Pennsylvania released a study on Monday that argues that twenty years ago, planners underestimated the value of nuclear plants in the electricity market. According to the group, that means the state should now let the plants close.

Huh?

The question confronting the state now isn’t what the companies that owned the reactors at the time of de-regulation got or didn’t get. It’s not a question of whether they were profitable in the '80s, '90s and '00s. It’s about now. Business works by looking at the present and making projections about the future.

Is losing the nuclear plants what’s best for the state going forward?

Pennsylvania needs clean air. It needs jobs. And it needs protection against over-reliance on a single fuel source.


What the reactors need is recognition of all the value they provide. The electricity market is depressed, and if electricity is treated as a simple commodity, with no regard for its benefit to clean air o…