Watts Bar Unit 2 Progress Stays On Track

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Progress on Watts Bar Nuclear Plant’s Unit 2 reactor remains on schedule and on budget more than a year after completion estimates were revised for the critical project, the Tennessee Valley Authority said Tuesday.

TVA released a fifth quarterly update on Watts Bar 2 covering the work accomplished in the 15 months after the TVA board of directors approved continuing with construction of the 1,100-megawatt unit in April 2012.

The new estimate to complete, or ETC, included additional funding of $1.5 billion to $2 billion, bringing the total cost to complete the unit to the range of $4 billion to $4.5 billion. Estimated completion of Watts Bar 2 was projected between September 2015 and June 2016. The project currently is tracking a most likely completion date of December 2015.

“Performance during the quarter continued to be consistent with the revised ETC and targets for safety, quality, cost and schedule are being met,” said Mike Skaggs, TVA senior vice president for Watts Bar Operations and Construction.

“The work in progress on Unit 2 is being completed according to a detailed plan, and bulk construction is in the final phase,” Mr. Skaggs said. “The plant is approximately 80 percent complete, and we are focusing on completing and readying plant systems for pre-operational testing.”

About 3,300 workers are engaged in the Watts Bar 2 completion project, which will be TVA’s seventh nuclear unit and have the capability to provide enough energy for approximately 650,000 Tennessee Valley homes.

Highlights of the fifth quarter, which covered May-July 2013, include:

  • Safety performance remained strong, with workers achieving more than 21.3 million work-hours without a lost-time accident, dating back to March 2010.
  • The Quality Control Acceptance Rate remained high, with 96 percent of work presented for inspection meeting quality control requirements.
  • Cost and schedule expectations were met.
  • No new risks were identified that might compromise project completion.

Significantly, three operating systems that are required for open vessel testing – the first of five functional tests designed to demonstrate Watts Bar 2 is being built to high standards of quality – were released ahead of schedule from the construction organization for pre-operational engineering tests.

The open vessel testing, which is scheduled for early 2014, involves pumping water through several systems that are used when shutting down the reactor, as well as support for other nuclear operations.

Challenges to completing Watts Bar 2 include completing complex work and required documentation; performing tests on shared Watts Bar Unit 1 and Unit 2 systems without impacting the safe and reliable operations of Unit 1; addressing regulatory and licensing issues, and successfully transitioning the site into dual-unit operation.

“TVA has invested in nuclear power as a key component in generating safe, reliable, carbon-free, low-cost energy,” Mr. Skaggs said. “Completing the Watts Bar 2 project in a safe manner, on time and within budget will validate this investment and the value of using a diverse mix of energy sources to meet the Valley’s electricity needs.”

For a copy of the Quarterly Update to the Watts Bar 2 Estimate to Complete, go to http://www.tva.com/power/nuclear/wattsbar_unit2.htm.

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