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.


Attorneys Batts And Taylor Elected To Lead State Drug Court Association

The Tennessee Association of Drug Court Professionals has elected attorneys Kevin Batts and Richard Taylor to leadership positions in the statewide group. Mr. Batts will serve as president and Mr. Taylor will serve as vice president of the association in 2015. Mr. Batts is director of the Drug Court in the 23rd Judicial District, serving five counties of Middle Tennessee. He ... (click for more)

Karen Tindell And Kelly Still Join Southern Community Bank

Robert Stahl, Chattanooga city president of Southern Community Bank, announced Karen Tindell and Kelly Still have joined the Chattanooga branch. “Karen joins the staff as assistant vice president and Kelly joins the staff as a commercial lender,” said Mr. Stahl.  “Together Karen and Kelly collectively have over 50 years’ experience in the financial industry with regional ... (click for more)

2 Suspects Sought In Armed Robbery At Highway 153 Long John Silver's

Police are searching for two suspects in an armed robbery that happened Friday morning. At approximately  8:10  a.m. the Chattanooga Police Department responded to 5317 Highway 153 for a robbery at the Long John Silver's.  Officers discovered that two black men, wearing hoodies and masks, entered the Long John Silver's and forced the assistant manager ... (click for more)

Fire Causes $30,000 In Damages At Scenic City Concrete

Chattanooga firefighters responded to a reported structure fire shortly after  10 p.m. Thursday  at Scenic City Concrete Pumping, at 2903 South Orchard Knob Ave. Captain Donny McMillian with Engine 9 said smoke was visible when the first firefighters arrived. Captain McMillian said the firefighters had to force their way through a locked gate and into the building, ... (click for more)

Please Don't Close The Piccadilly Cafeteria At Hamilton Place - And Response

Oh, no. The Piccadilly Cafeteria at Hamilton Place is closing.  Its last day is Christmas Eve.  I will miss the great food they have there but most of all I will miss their servers, cashiers and waitresses.  They are all so friendly and accommodating.  They make it like it’s a home-style restaurant. I sure wish there was some way that Hamilton Place and ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: God Bless Cathy & Co.

The secret to the whole thing is not getting caught but somebody at the Toys R Us store in Framingham, Mass., had a camera when Cathy O’Grady was very quietly paying off all the layaway balances at the popular location last week. The picture snaked its way onto social media sites and her friends quickly recognized the area’s most famous “layaway angel.” Then somebody in nearby ... (click for more)