Watts Bar Unit 2 Over 90 Percent Complete, Key Milestones Ahead

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

The Tennessee Valley Authority’s Watts Bar Nuclear Plant’s Unit 2 reactor is more than 90 percent complete and moving through key testing to become the nation’s first new nuclear generation of the 21st century.

In the eighth quarterly report since TVA revised its Estimate to Complete the project, TVA said Monday that Watts Bar Unit 2 continues to meet safety and quality targets and remains on schedule and within budget to become the first U.S. reactor to generate “new” power in nearly two decades, and the first since Watts Bar Unit 1 in 1996.

Watts Bar Unit 2 is projected to begin commercial operation between September 2015 and June 2016, with a most likely date by December 2015. The project has a projected completion cost between $4 billion and $4.5 billion, with a most likely target of $4.2 billion.

Testing of individual and combined plant systems is under way, TVA said in the latest quarterly update, covering February to April 2014. The first major system test, called Open Vessel Testing, began ahead of schedule during the period and was completed earlier this summer. OVT involves pumping water into the reactor vessel through systems used when shutting down the reactor and in support of nuclear operations.

“These tests are critical as we move toward receiving approval from the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission to load fuel by our most likely date in June 2015, and to begin operation later that year,” said Mike Skaggs, TVA senior vice president for Watts Bar Operations and Construction.

“Most of the major construction work is concluding,” Mr. Skaggs added. “We are making systems, structures and components like new and are making sure they operate according to TVA, industry and technical standards. We have a lot of complex and challenging work still to go.”

Watts Bar will be the one of the first nuclear plants in the country to complete post-Fukushima safety upgrades required by the NRC. Enhancements include a new hardened FLEX equipment storage building designed to withstand earthquakes, floods and other incidents similar to what happened in Japan. The cement and steel structure houses emergency backup diesel generators, pumps and other equipment needed to keep the reactor containment cooled in the event that onsite power is lost.

“Our FLEX enhancements help demonstrate the level of commitment by TVA and the nuclear power industry to the safety of our workers and the public,” Mr. Skaggs said.

Safety performance also remains strong at the project, with workers achieving more than 27 million work hours without a lost-time incident through the reporting period.

Eighth 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.

Challenges to the project include regulatory issues, continuing to protect the safe and reliable operation of Unit 1 while finishing Unit 2, emergent work identified during testing, and ensuring the site’s readiness for dual-unit operation.

About 3,100 workers are on the Watts Bar Unit 2 project, which will be TVA’s seventh nuclear unit. Watts Bar Unit 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.


Attorney General Slatery Names Solicitor General

Tennessee Attorney General Herbert Slatery announced that Andrée Sophia Blumstein will join the office as solicitor general.   Mrs. Blumstein will oversee appellate litigation in state and federal courts, review written opinions, and advise the attorney general. “I could not be more pleased that Andrée has accepted this important appointment,” Attorney General Slatery ... (click for more)

Northwest Georgia’s Unemployment Rate Falls To 7.1 Percent In September

The Georgia Department of Labor announced Thursday that the unemployment rate in the Northwest Georgia region in September was 7.1 percent, down 1.0 percent from 8.1 percent in August. The rate in September of last year was 7.8 percent. The rate dropped because there were 4,034 fewer unemployed people in the Northwest Georgia area in September, according to the federal government’s ... (click for more)

Mayor Berke, Chattanooga Police Department, And Community Members Reach Out To Group Members To End Violence

The city of Chattanooga held a call-in on Thursday night, as part of the Violence Reduction Initiative. Dozens of law enforcement officials, community members, social service providers and clergy gathered to deliver a message to over 20 members of violent groups in Chattanooga. Family members of the probationers watched the call-in from another building. Although the call-in was ... (click for more)

Man Airlifted To Erlanger After Early Morning Crash In Bradley County

Bradley County EMS responded to an early morning crash Thursday at 7 a.m. at the intersection of Lauderdale Memorial Highway and Walker Valley Road in Charleston. Three ambulances and an EMS supervisor responded to the scene. There were three vehicles involved and one car left the roadway.   One adult man suffered serious injuries and it was determined that he needed ... (click for more)

Chairs Cost How Much?

Many times while growing up, I would go to the store with my parents. More often than not, I would see something I wanted, and ask my parents to buy it for me. More often than not, they said no. “Why?” I asked. “Son, money doesn’t grow on trees.” That’s a phrase I’m sure many of us have heard more than once over the course of our lives. However, I have since learned that they were ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: My Dear Friend Luther

One sunny morning in June years ago, the renowned radio icon Luther Masingill was on his way back to the WDEF studios on South Broad Street when he stopped for a red light and noticed a young couple in a car idling next to his familiar light blue Ford pickup. “What caught my eye was a buck-toothed boy eating a banana in the back seat,” he explained in an aside to that day’s lunchtime ... (click for more)