The nation’s first new nuclear generating unit in the 21st Century is back online after successfully completing its first scheduled refueling and maintenance outage. The Tennessee Valley Authority’s Watts Bar Nuclear Plant Unit 2 returned to service at 9:55 p.m. on Thursday.
During the next few days, operators will manage a carefully monitored power ascension process to bring the unit back to full output, supplying enough carbon-free energy for 650,000 homes.
“The team’s hard work during the preparation and execution of this outage – even over the Thanksgiving holiday – has set up Unit 2 for another 18 months of reliably serving the Tennessee Valley,” said Paul Simmons, site vice president. “More importantly, their focus on safety allowed them to complete more than 10,000 planned work activities with no injuries.”
In addition to replacing one-third of the unit’s fuel assemblies, team members conducted equipment maintenance and upgrades while performing detailed inspections of the unit’s reactor systems and steam generators.
Watts Bar’s two operational units produce enough energy 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 nearly 40 percent of the electricity used across the Valley.