By BILL POOVEY
Associated Press

KNOXVILLE, TN. (AP) - Tennessee Valley Authority board members have approved 2 percent average wholesale rate increase that takes effect Oct. 1 and voted unanimously to finish construction of a 37-year-old nuclear plant in northeast Alabama.

The decisions came during a Thursday meeting at TVA headquarters in Knoxville after board members heard public comments about the nuclear plant.

The rate increase comes to an extra $1.60 per month.

TVA President and CEO Tom Kilgore has said that building the Bellefonte reactor is the right move for the environment and for the utility's 9 million rate payers in Tennessee, Kentucky, Virginia, Alabama, Georgia, North Carolina and Mississippi.

Finishing the mothballed plant is projected to cost $4 billion to $5 billion, on top of about $4 billion already spent.

(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)