The Tennessee Valley Authority’s Watts Bar Unit 2 this past weekend successfully completed an extensive series of tests designed to validate the safety and reliability of the nation’s first new nuclear generation of this century, the federal utility said in an Oct. 3 statement.
The unit completed its final power ascension test – a 50% load rejection from full power – on Sept. 30, and safely returned to full power. Unit 2 is now producing more than 1,150 MW as it begins a pre-commercial operations reliability period of extended full power generation.
“When we decided to complete Unit 2, we made a commitment to the people we serve that we would take the time necessary to do so safely and with high quality,” said Joe Grimes, TVA executive vice president of generation and chief nuclear officer. “The Watts Bar team has now passed another important milestone in fulfilling that commitment to reliably provide additional low-cost, clean energy to the Tennessee Valley.”
Power ascension testing was a highly detailed and rigorous series of tests performed at various power levels to ensure all systems operate safely as designed. A switchyard transformer fire on Aug. 30 did not directly impact Unit 2’s systems, which responded exactly as designed, TVA added. Power ascension testing was temporarily placed on hold while the affected transformer was replaced and operators completed a thorough inspection and testing process on affected switchyard equipment.
TVA is a corporate agency of the United States that provides electricity for business customers and local power distributors serving more than 9 million people in parts of seven southeastern states.