Tuesday, May 27, 2008

At $24 billion in debt, what's next for TVA?

TVA lost its federal appropriations for power in 1959 through a congressional act and became completely self-financed in 1999. It also started racking up debt, which in 2007 reached $24.7 billion, about 82 percent of the maximum $30 billion in debt. Many blame that debt on TVA's overeager nuclear program from the 1970s when, at one point, TVA had plans to build 17 nuclear power plants. With escalating construction and energy costs, the agency eventually cut its nuclear program back and built a total of six reactors, half of which never functioned, at a cost of $6.3 billion. Now that TVA has entered another nuclear renaissance and is seeking to get three nuclear reactors operational, many worry that TVA's debt might only increase.

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