Watts Bar Unit 2 Project Ready For Open Vessel Testing

Friday, May 02, 2014

In its seventh quarterly update, the Tennessee Valley Authority said Friday that Watts Bar Nuclear Plant’s Unit 2 reactor remains on schedule to become the nation’s first new nuclear generation of the 21st century.

Targeted to begin commercial operation between September 2015 and June 2016, the reactor will be the nation’s first to generate “new” power in nearly two decades, and the first since Watts Bar Unit 1 in 1996.

The project team has remained within budget and on schedule under the revised estimate to complete for Watts Bar Unit 2, approved by TVA’s board of directors in April 2012. Since the revised budget and schedule, TVA has provided quarterly updates that review the project status and how costs and challenges are being managed.

The focus of work on the Watts Bar Unit 2 has shifted from large-scale construction to completion and testing of individual plant systems, TVA said in the quarterly update covering November 2013 to January 2014.

             “We achieved a significant milestone during the quarter as the last major systems were completed and released to pre-operational startup in support of open vessel testing (OVT),” said Mike Skaggs, TVA senior vice president for Watts Bar Operations and Construction.

 “As a result of the team’s hard work, we were able to begin OVT this week, which is slightly earlier than we expected. This is a major step toward achieving commercial operation by December 2015, our most likely target date.” OVT involves pumping water into the reactor vessel through systems that are used when shutting down the reactor and in support of nuclear operations.

            At the project, safety performance also remains strong, with workers achieving more than 25 million work hours without a lost-time incident. “The Watts Bar 2 team knows how important it is to stay focused on working safely,” Skaggs said. “The team has not only met or exceeded quality, cost and schedule targets, but they have done so by making safety their top priority.”

Seventh quarter highlights included:

  • Activities were performed in a manner that resulted in a Quality Control acceptance rate of 97 percent.
  • Cost and schedule expectations were met.
  • No new risks were identified that currently affect project completion.

            About 3,200 workers are on the Watts Bar 2 project, which will be TVA’s seventh nuclear unit.  Watts Bar 2 will add 1,100 megawatts of carbon-free 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.


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