The Tennessee Valley Authority’s Watts Bar Nuclear Plant Unit 2 began a scheduled refueling and maintenance outage this past Saturday, after producing more than 6.2 billion kilowatt-hours of electricity since the start of commercial operations in October 2016.
“Our work during this outage will position Watts Bar Unit 2 to continue generating low-cost, carbon-free nuclear energy to reliably power daily life across the Tennessee Valley for the next 18 months,” said Paul Simmons, site vice president. “This outage puts Unit 2 on a routine 18-month refueling cycle that aligns with the other seven nuclear units in our TVA fleet. Our goal is a year-and-a-half of safe, around-the-clock, full-power generation from the nation’s newest nuclear unit.”
An additional 1,000 TVA and contract employees are supplementing the site’s regular staff during the outage. More than 12,000 work activities are planned, including loading new fuel assemblies, performing inspections of the unit’s reactor equipment and steam generators, maintenance of plant equipment and additional equipment upgrades.
Watts Bar’s two operational units produce enough power for 1.3 million homes. TVA also operates three units at the Browns Ferry Nuclear Plant near Decatur, Al., and two units at Sequoyah Nuclear Plant near Soddy-Daisy. Collectively, TVA’s nuclear fleet reliably provides more than one-third of the electricity used across the Valley.