Nuclear Development LLC. and project manager SNC-Lavalin announced on Monday the construction plans to complete the Bellefonte Nuclear Power Plant. Officials said thousands of potential jobs would come with the development of the plant, however construction might not start for another five years. Bud Kramer, a representative for Nuclear Development LLC. emphasized just how many jobs could be created because of this project.
"Anywhere from 6,500 direct construction jobs and adding another approximately 3,500 indirect construction jobs and you come up with a figure of 10,000," Kramer said.
In November 2016, Nuclear Development LLC. agreed to purchase the plant from the Tennessee Valley Authority for $111 million dollars. In June 2018, the group selected SNC-Lavalin as the project managing company for the plant. The Bellefonte Nuclear Power Plant has been vacant for years now, after the TVA would start and stop construction multiple times.
"Because of budget pressures, the project was abandoned for years and years and years," Kramer said.
Kramer says the difference this time around is they are not starting from scratch.
"These facilities were anywhere from 50 to 80 percent complete already," Kramer said.
Sam Rodgers has lived in Jackson County for over 70 years. He says the unused land wasn't helping anybody before but that could soon change.
"A lot of it was just a waste," Rodgers said of the plant. "But if it'll create jobs, that's whats best for Jackson County."
After seeing the plant sit idle for years, Rodgers believes this time, things will be different.
"I believe eventually that company that bought it, I believe they'll do something with it, I really do," Rodgers said.
SNC-Lavalin does not want to scratch the current layout of the power plant, they want to build off of what is currently in place and adjust to some of the new safety regulations to make the plant more accident tolerant. The next step is to wait for the sale of the plant to be finalized in November before any construction can begin. Even then, it could take several more years before work starts at the plant. Because of that, officials tell WAAY31 there is no timetable as to when they may start hiring for the plant.