TVA Watts Bar 1 is back at 98%

The Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) Watts Bar 1 nuclear unit was back at nearly full power early Sept. 6 while Watts Bar 2 remained at zero power, according to data from the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC).

TVA had taken Watts Bar 1 offline temporarily before the Labor Day holiday weekend so workers could fully inspect a switchyard where a fire had occurred Aug. 30. That Aug. 30 fire also prompted TVA to take offline the Watts Bar 2 unit that has been in increased power testing this summer.

TVA is in the process of bringing Unit 2 of the Watts Bar nuclear plant into full “commercial” operation. Units 1 and 2 are both pressurized water reactors (PWRs) and each has a generating capacity of more than 1,150 MW.

In addition, the Wolf Creek nuclear plant in Kansas was listed at zero power early Sept. 6.

The Wolf Creek unit experienced some type of issue with the reactor coolant system on Sept. 2, according to an event report filed with NRC.

The system detected a reactor coolant leak of more than 1 gallon per minute, which required the unit to go offline, according to its technical specifications. “Leak location is not known at this time,” according to the Wolf Creek report filed with NRC.

Plant personnel are in the process of finalizing a repair plan, a plant official said. Wolf Creek planned to shut down on Sept. 24 for a refueling outage. Plant executives have decided to keep the plant offline through the scheduled outage. 

“It just makes sense to keep the plant offline to allow our team to incorporate the weld repair into our outage schedule and focus on completing all of our maintenance activities with precision,” said Cleve Reasoner, site vice president.

Prior to Friday’s shutdown, Wolf Creek had run for nearly 500 days.

The Wolf Creek reactor is run by Wolf Creek Nuclear Operating, which is owned by Westar Energy (NYSE:WR), Great Plain Energy (NYSE:GXP) and KCP&L, as well as Kansas Electric Power.

Wolf Creek is a roughly 1,200 MW PWR located in Coffey County, Kansas.

In addition to Wolf Creek and Watts Bar 2, the Public Service Enterprise Group (NYSE:PEG)(PSEG) Salem Unit 2 in New Jersey was listed at only 2%, according to NRC data.

Unit 2 went offline Aug. 31 as a result of an electrical fault with a power cable to one of the four reactor coolant pumps. A PSEG spokesperson said Sept. 6 that repairs are in progress.

In addition, power generation is currently 60% at Salem 1, where repairs are being made on a steam generator feed pump, the spokesperson said.

Salem Units 1 and 2 are both PWRs. Each has a generating capacity of roughly 1,150 MW. The station is located in Hancocks Bridge, New Jersey.

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.