HUNTSVILLE, Ala. – After winding its way through the federal court system, closing arguments were held Thursday in a dispute over the sale of the Bellefonte Nuclear Plant in Jackson County.
“TVA’s position on this matter has not changed since day 1,” said Tennessee Valley Authority spokesperson Jim Hopson outside of Huntsville’s Federal Courthouse.
The case, which began in May, pitted the TVA against Nuclear Development, which won the rights to purchase the plant in 2016 for $111 million dollars. But just two weeks before the November 2018 closing date for the plant, the TVA pulled out of the deal, saying Nuclear Development had not obtained the proper construction permits, an issue which has been at the heart of the case.
“Part of that includes getting the necessary permission from the Nuclear Regulatory Commission to have a nuclear property,” said Hopson. “Unfortunately in the two-year period between the time they were successfully bidding on the contract and the time we closed, they were not able to complete that process.”
It is a requirement that Nuclear Development alleges the TVA intentionally waited to bring up until the last minute, something the TVA denies.
Nuclear Development is suing the Authority for breach of contract, asking for monetary damages, including the return of a $22 million dollar down payment for the plant.
During closing arguments, Nuclear Development also alleged that the TVA did not want to complete the sale because Nuclear Development had solicited the City of Memphis as a customer. Memphis Light, Gas & Water is the TVA’s largest customer. It is an allegation that the TVA denies.
The case now in the hands of U.S. District Judge Liles Burke.