SPRING CITY (WATE) – Tennessee Valley Authority is celebrating the completion of the first new nuclear unit in the United States in the 21st Century.
TVA said Unit 2 of Watts Bar Nuclear Plant has achieved full power output following the completion of construction. Construction for the reactor was first started in 1979 then restarted in 2008. The reboot ran about 42 billion over budget and took about three years longer than anticipated.
“TVA’s mission is to make life better in the Valley by providing reliable, low-cost energy, protecting our area’s natural resources and working to attract business and growth – all priorities simultaneously supported by the completion of Watts Bar Unit 2,” said Bill Johnson, TVA president and CEO. “Watts Bar Unit 2 is a key part of our commitment to produce cleaner energy without sacrificing the reliability and low cost that draws both industry and residents to our area.”
Watts Bar Unit 2 has already provided more than 500 million kilowatt/hours during testing, according to TVA. It now joins six other operating TVA nuclear units to supply more than one third of the region’s generating capacity, and meeting the electric needs of more than 4.5 million homes. Watts Bar, Sequoyah and Browns Ferry nuclear stations have also contributed to reducing TVA’s carbon emissions by 30 percent since 2005, a reduction that will rise to 60 percent by 2020.
The project would not have been possible, according to Executive Vice President of Operations Mike Skaggs, without the 3,700 employees contributing their time.
“I’m very proud of what we were able to do. People came out of retirement for this project, I’ve made so many friends,” Skaggs said.
“Nuclear power remains the only source of carbon-free energy that is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week,” said Joe Grimes, TVA executive vice president of generation and chief nuclear officer. “TVA believes that Watts Bar Unit 2, and other nuclear units like it across the Valley and the nation, represents a vital investment in our clean energy future.”