US publicly owned utility Tennessee Valley Authority is writing off $3.4 billion in assets in a move intended to ‘straighten out its balance sheet’ and help it compete in deregulated markets. The writeoff includes $798 million in refinancing costs dating back to 1994, and three nuclear station assets. Those are $1.7 billion spent on a second reactor at the Watts Bar site, deferred since 1988; $410 million spent on site development for four nuclear units at Hartsville cancelled in 1984; and $500 million spent on the a twin reactor at Bellefonte, whose future has not been determined – three options of completing the plant or converting to natural gas or coal are being considered by a TVA task force. The writeoffs leave the company with a $3.3 billion deficit on the year. It had recorded increased revenue of $7 billion, thanks to increased sales and reduced debt.

•Meanwhile, TVA is investing some $25 million in a Regenesys fuel cell storage facility similar to one under construction by Regenesys in the UK. When it comes on line in 2003 the plant will be able to store up to 120 MWh, ‘charging’ during low-load periods and providing power for up to 10 hours at peak times.