February 05, 2016

First new US reactor since 1996 is nearly ready to start

The Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) has approved the expenditure of a further $200 million on the completion of Watts Bar 2, which would bring final spending on the project to a total of up to $4.7 billion.

The scope of the project has increased by $125 million through regulatory orders and other items occurring since TVA's $4.5 billion estimate to complete the project was approved, Johnson said. These orders were particularly related to regulatory requirements brought in after the 2011 Fukushima accident and cybersecurity issues, which were not foreseen in the original budget.

Construction of Watts Bar 2, a 1165 MWe (net) pressurized water reactor, began in 1972 but work was suspended in 1985 when the unit was about 55% complete. TVA decided to resume work on the unit in 2007, awarding an engineering, procurement and construction contract to Bechtel.

This would make it the first nuclear plant to start up in the US since Watts Bar 1, which was licensed in 1996 after a similarly lengthy construction hiatus. It will also be the first US nuclear plant to comply with all the NRC's post-Fukushima upgrades as well as the newest cybersecurity requirements.

Watts Bar Unit 2 is essential to diversifying TVA’s power sources to ensure that the more than 9 million people served by TVA and their local power companies have affordable and reliable electricity generated in an environmentally friendly manner






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