Watts Bar Unit 2 performance on track with estimate to complete

October 26, 2012

SPRING CITY, Tenn. ― The Tennessee Valley Authority released Friday its quarterly update on construction progress on the Watts Bar Unit 2 nuclear reactor.

The report verifies performance is consistent with detailed completion cost and time estimates approved in April by the TVA board of directors.

This first quarterly update to the Watts Bar Unit 2 Estimate to Complete (May-July 2012) shows the project is on track for completion between September and December of 2015 and within a total cost range of $4 billion to $4.5 billion. The update also verifies safety and quality remain high, and there are no new risks in the short term that could compromise project completion.

“When the TVA board of directors approved the revised Watts Bar Unit 2 completion schedule, Nuclear Construction committed to providing quarterly progress updates,” said Mike Skaggs, TVA senior vice president for Nuclear Construction. “This was done to maintain the integrity of the estimate and transparency about our performance and how we are taking care of unfinished business at Watts Bar Unit 2.” 

Actions at Watts Bar Unit 2 during the quarter focused on improving construction efficiency by implementing lessons learned as well as improvement initiatives. Results included strong safety performance, with the project exceeding 15.3 million work-hours without a lost time accident, and the overall acceptance rate of quality control inspections consistently tracking above 95 percent. Cost and schedule performance during the quarter met established goals.

According to Skaggs, the primary focus at Watts Bar Unit 2 is keeping construction activities moving forward safely and assuring quality work is performed more efficiently. Other areas include addressing lessons learned from the Fukushima event and closing documentation for completed work. While not an immediate issue, TVA is reviewing a Nuclear Regulatory Commission industry-wide order that states final licensing decisions will not be issued until the NRC has addressed how used nuclear fuel can continue to be managed after a plant is shut down.

As construction progresses, Skaggs said the Watts Bar site will focus on integrating the operations of the new Unit 2 with the existing Unit 1 to fulfill the facility’s original design at a two-unit station.

“The Watts Bar Unit 2 team made good progress during the quarter. This is progress for TVA’s entire nuclear fleet as we work to ensure dual-unit operational readiness at Watts Bar Nuclear Plant,” adds Skaggs. “TVA has a balanced energy mix that provides reliable and cleaner power for the Tennessee Valley. Watts Bar Unit 2 will produce more than 1,100 megawatts of energy at competitive prices and be another major source of emission-free electricity. It is an important and cost-effective part of that balanced mix, and as with any energy generation produced by TVA, safety and operational excellence are paramount.”