TVA anticipates late 2015 deployment of Watts Bar 2 nuclear unit

After getting off to a rocky start initially, the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) said Oct. 29 that it is still expecting the 1,100-MW Watts Bar 2 nuclear unit to go online by late 2015.

TVA said work on the project is 80% complete and about 3,300 workers have been involved in the project recently. TVA just issued its fifth quarterly progress report on completing the unfinished nuclear reactor.

Nuclear historians recall that TVA suspended construction of both Watts Bar units near Spring City, Tenn., in the mid-1980s. Construction of Watts Bar 1 subsequently resumed and it started operation in 1996. It wasn’t until 2007 that the TVA board authorized completion of Watts Bar 2.

As things currently stand, TVA could actually load fuel in the reactor during April 2015 and start commercial operation in November 2015, according to the report.

TVA also an “incentive” program built into the Watts Bar 2 effort that awards builders for getting the plant commissioned safety by Dec. 31, 2015, at a maximum cost of $4.4bn.

The utility will soon start a series of critical path milestones, such as Open Vessel component and logic Testing (OVT).

Fifteen months after TVA shook up management of the Watts Bar 2 project, TVA said the total cost to complete the unfinished nuclear unit remains between $4bn and $4.5bn.

TVA rededicated itself to the spring of 2012. When the TVA board approved the project in 2007, it predicted a 60-month construction schedule and a cost of $2.49bn.

In its latest quarterly progress report, TVA said that safety performance measures implemented by Bechtel helped curb “lower level safety incidents.” Watts Bar 2 project workers exceeded 21.3 million work hours without a lost-time incident, TVA said.

TVA said in the report that it is working to ensure that completion of construction at Watts Bar 2 does not interfere with smooth operation of Watts Bar 1. TVA said it is also working to ensure Watts Bar 2 will meet emerging NRC standards for Fukushima-inspired severe accident scenarios.

About Wayne Barber 4201 Articles
Wayne Barber, Chief Analyst for the GenerationHub, has been covering power generation, energy and natural resources issues at national publications for more than 20 years. Prior to joining PennWell he was editor of Generation Markets Week at SNL Financial for nine years. He has also worked as a business journalist at both McGraw-Hill and Financial Times Energy. Wayne also worked as a newspaper reporter for several years. During his career has visited nuclear reactors and coal mines as well as coal and natural gas power plants. Wayne can be reached at wayneb@pennwell.com.