TVA board agrees to buy steam generators from Westinghouse

The Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) board agreed Feb. 13 to buy a set of new steam generators from Westinghouse Electric for roughly $160m, and the board expects the components to be installed at Watts Bar 2 within a decade after the nuclear reactor starts operation.

TVA is in the home stretch of construction of the roughly 1,200-MW Watts Bar 2 in Rhea County, Tenn., and expects it to come online in late 2015.

TVA is several years into an effort to finish building Watts Bar 2, which was suspended back in the 1980s. When the completed Watts Bar 2 comes online in 2015 it will initially rely upon the existing steam generators installed decades ago.

TVA nuclear officials told board member Marilyn Brown that they expect the existing steam generators to run fine for eight-to-10 years, but they want to use newer technology for the longer term.

Westinghouse offered a bid to design, manufacture and supply the four steam generators at essentially a fixed price, TVA nuclear officials said. There would be a roughly four-year lead time on delivery, and TVA would not have to make its first payment for a couple of years.

 TVA also approved a fuel fabrication contract, not to exceed $250m, with AREVA for several years of fuel service at the Browns Ferry nuclear plant in Alabama. The contract would run roughly from FY 2016 to FY 2025.

The TVA board also selected Joe Ritch as chairman-elect to succeed Bill Sansom when Sansom’s term ends on May 18. Ritch is known regionally for his work with the North Alabama Base Realignment and Closing Commission. Ritch would be the first Alabama resident to serve as chairman of TVA, which serves a seven-state region.

Johnson details TVA’s reaction to January’s arctic chill

“It’s no exaggeration to say that January was one of the most demanding months in TVA’s generation history,” said TVA President and CEO Bill Johnson.

“In early January, we faced the coldest temperatures our region has seen since 1996, and some of the highest power demands,” Johnson said.

Three waves of arctic cold in January tested the reliability of the TVA power and transmission system to keep the lights and heat on for the Valley’s nine million residents. By the end of the month, the region established several winter peak demand marks and five of the Top 10 days for the most energy used in TVA history, Johnson said.

Johnson also offered a breakdown for TVA’s generation mix on the super-cold Jan. 7. That day TVA saw 17% of its output come from natural gas; coal 30%; hydro 10%; nuclear 23%; purchased power 14% and renewable energy 6%.

TVA did call on some of its interruptible power contracts in the recent winter weather, Johnson said.

On other issues, Johnson noted that TVA looked at a variety of options, including transmission, before electing to pursue a $1bn, 1,000-MW natural gas power unit at the Paradise station in Kentucky. TVA expects to have gas plant completed by summer of 2017.

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.