TVA To Sell Nuclear Plant

The Tennessee Valley Authority for the first time intends to temporarily sell ownership of a new nuclear reactor.

Officials say the reason mainly is to keep TVA from closing in on its debt limit as it builds a separate $4.8 billion reactor in Alabama.

The sale and leaseback arrangement would have the nation’s largest public utility lease and operate its unit 2 reactor at the Watts Bar nuclear plant between Knoxville and Chattanooga that is expected to be finished late next year.

TVA plans to use the money of investors or partners to fund construction of a reactor the utility plans to start building in 2013 at the mothballed Bellefonte nuclear plant in Alabama. That financing, unlike issuing bonds, would not narrow the gap between TVA’s existing $24 billion debt and its government-set $30 billion debt limit.