Watts Bar Unit 2 Project Focuses On Systems Completion

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Work on Watts Bar Nuclear Plant’s Unit 2 reactor remains on schedule and on budget, and the project team has shifted its focus from large-scale construction to completion and testing of individual plant systems.

The Tennessee Valley Authority on Thursday released its sixth quarterly update on the progress of the Watts Bar 2 project, covering the August-October 2013 period.

"As the team continued to meet safety, quality, cost and schedule targets, we shifted our focus onto completing commodities, like valves and hangers, within specific systems and releasing those systems for testing. This is moving the project toward our major completion milestones,” said Mike Skaggs, TVA senior vice president for Watts Bar Operations and Construction.

Specific systems are tied to certain milestones, and the schedule provides a logical sequence for completing and testing those systems.

“Two of those systems were released for pre-operational startup testing ahead of schedule during the quarter,” Mr. Skaggs said. “More than 35 additional systems are expected to begin startup testing this year, and we are moving toward several key project milestones, starting with open vessel testing.”

Open vessel testing involves pumping water through systems that are used when shutting down the reactor. This testing is scheduled to begin in the spring.

In addition to the shift in focus from construction activities, highlights of the sixth quarter included:

  • Safety performance remained strong, with workers achieving more than 22.8 million work-hours without a lost-time incident, dating back to March 2010.
  • The Quality Control Acceptance Rate remained high, with 97 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.

Since TVA’s board of directors approved a revised estimate to complete (ETC) Watts Bar Unit 2 in April 2012, TVA has provided quarterly updates, reviewing the project status and how costs and challenges are being managed.

Estimated completion of Watts Bar 2 is projected between September 2015 and June 2016, with a most likely completion date of December 2015.

The revised ETC included additional funding of $1.5 billion to $2 billion; the total cost for completing the unit is expected to be between $4 billion and $4.5 billion.

Challenges to the project include completing complex work and required documentation; completing and testing shared systems without impacting Unit 1’s safe and reliable operation; addressing regulatory and licensing issues, and successfully transitioning the site into dual-unit operation.

“As TVA pursues a more balanced generation portfolio to meet the needs of the Tennessee Valley, nuclear power becomes increasingly important as a key source of reliable, carbon-free, low-cost energy,” Mr. Skaggs said. “Watts Bar Unit 2 plays a vital role in these plans, and the entire team is committed to completing the project in a safe manner, on time and within budget.”

About 3,300 workers are at the Watts Bar 2 project, which will be TVA’s seventh nuclear unit.  Watts Bar 2 will add 1,100 megawatts of electricity, providing enough energy for approximately 650,000 homes.

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.


Local Batteries Plus Rebrands With "Bulbs"

Batteries Plus has announced the rebranding of its Chattanooga store at 1925 Gunbarrel Road as Batteries Plus Bulbs. The store’s new identity is part of a company-wide initiative which began in late 2012 that signals its leadership in the expanding $17 billion U.S. light bulb replacement industry.   Batteries Plus Bulbs has access to more than 15,000 light bulb products ... (click for more)

General Assembly Approves Legislation Aiding Morgan County

The state senate approved a house amendment and sent to the governor legislation sponsored by Senator Ken Yager (R-Kingston) to assist Morgan County in attracting vendors to turn the former Brushy Mountain Penitentiary into a tourist attraction.   Senate Bill 1708 , which aims to recruit new jobs to the area, directs a portion of the state and local sales tax proceeds ... (click for more)

City Applies For $27 Million Federal Grant On $52 Million Wilcox Tunnel Project

The city is applying for a $27 million federal TIGER 6 grant for a $52 million complete reworking of the narrow Wilcox Tunnel through Missionary Ridge. The project would leave the current tunnel in place for westbound traffic with a single lane and build a new two-lane tunnel for eastbound traffic. There would be an emergency egress cross passage between the two. Final ... (click for more)

NAACP Recommends Staying Away From Planned Protest By Neo-Nazi Group

The president of the Chattanooga Chapter of the NAACP, urged local residents to stay away from a planned rally here by the Nationalist Socialist Movement in August. James R. Mapp said the group seeks to provoke incidents and said counter-protests could lead to problems. Mr. Mapp said, "On April 8th, 2014, reports surfaced throughout the Chattanooga-Hamilton County region that ... (click for more)

State Moving Forward In Educational Improvements

The State Collaborative on Reforming Education released the following statement from President and CEO Jamie Woodson regarding the 2014 legislative session in Tennessee and HB1549/SB1835, which passed the General Assembly Thursday: After a year of extensive public and legislative conversation regarding higher academic standards and related strategies to improve student learning, ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: Some Really Funny Tweets

I am not on Twitter so I don’t tweet. Difficulties with my right hand don’t even allow me to text and when you blend in the fact I am now a bonafide senior citizen, it is ample reason for me to live a life where I am lacking in what otherwise might be achieved through social networking. Twitter has done real well without me. It is one of the 10 most visited websites in the world; ... (click for more)