Judge denies new trial in lawsuit over sale of TVA’s Bellefonte plant

A federal judge last month denied a request for a new trial in the collapsed sale of TVA’s Bellefonte Nuclear Plant in northeast Alabama to a company formed solely to buy the facility.

US District Judge Liles Burke, in a bench trial last year, ruled that TVA did not breach its contract to sell the plant to Nuclear Development. Following the trial, Nuclear Development filed a motion requesting a new trial and, almost a year later, Burke denied the request.

Related: Judge finds TVA did not breach contract in failed sale of Bellefonte plant

Nuclear Development sued TVA in November 2018 when the federal utility declined to complete the sale of the plant located near Scottsboro.

In his ruling following the trial, the judge determined TVA did not breach its purchase agreement with Nuclear Development. The trial ruling also required TVA to reimburse Nuclear Development with about $22 million for the down payment on the plant.

In his order, Burke denied a new trial because the evidence precluded at trial was not proper. That was the argument Nuclear Development invoked in seeking a new trial.

Nuclear Development won the rights to purchase the mothballed plant at auction in 2016 with a bid of $111 million. TVA put the plant up for auction after declaring it surplus property.

The deal, with a closing date in November 2018, began to fall apart days before the sale was to be completed. At trial, TVA argued that Nuclear Development had not secured construction permits for the two reactors at Bellefonte and because of that, it could not legally go through with the sale.

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