House Minority Leader Says Special Session Likely, TVA To Sell Bellefonte Nuclear Plant

May 6, 2016

Bellefonte Nuclear Generating Station near Hollywood, Ala.

The Alabama legislative session is over. Lawmakers have returned home, but some say very little was accomplished. APR’s MacKenzie Bates talks to one legislator who says there is still a lot work to do.

Lawmakers ended the session without agreeing a on a variety of issues like Alabama Governor Robert Bentley's prison construction proposal, how the state should spend the BP settlement from the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill and the lack of money to fund the state’s Medicaid program.

Alabama House Minority Leader Craig Ford says a special session will likely be called to address these problems.

“Once again, we failed do our job as Legislators. We, as Democrats, try to offer solutions to the budget, and they wouldn’t allow our bills to be brought up. Once again, we’re sitting here and we’re going to have to cost the taxpayers money to be called back in to a special session.”

If Gov. Bentley were to call for a special session, it would cost taxpayers a total of $400,000.

The Tennessee Valley Authority plans to sell an unfinished nuclear plant in northeast Alabama, and a Nevada energy company says they’re interested in buying.

The TVA Board of Directors voted yesterday to declare the Bellefonte Nuclear Generating Station near Hollywood, Alabama, surplus. The site includes two partially finished nuclear reactors, railroad spurs and a helicopter pad.

TVA President and CEO Bill Johnson says the 1,600 acre site will be sold at auction to the highest bidder. The TVA has sunk more than $4 billion into construction at the plant since the 1970s, but the property has been appraised at only $36 million.

Michael Dooley of Phoenix Energy of Nevada says his company wants to use the site to produce electricity utilizing a new technology they've developed. He says the company has already drawn up detailed plans for the facility.

Today is International Space Day, and the Universities Space Research Association is working to expand interest in education regarding the space industry.

The USRA is an independent, nonprofit research corporation founded by a former NASA administrator and former president of the National Academy of Sciences.

Dr. Jeff Isaacson is the President and CEO of the USRA. He says one of their goals is educating those who could potentially join the space industry.

“Efforts to ensure that our space enterprise has a robust and continuing to grow, technically competent workforce that can help to propel us into the future. I should also mention that we have a presence at the Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville.”

Isaacson says the USRA’s role in Huntsville involves research into better understanding changes to Earth’s climate as well as building instruments for other Earth science missions.