Watts Bar close to licensing and would be first new US reactor in 20 years

The Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) has reached a “critical regulatory step” towards the start up of the USA’s first new nuclear power reactor in 20 years.

An independent body within the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) has recommended proceeding with the licensing process for Watts Bar Unit 2, near Spring City, Tennessee. Its recommendation is part of the information NRC commissioners will consider when making a final decision on issuing an operating license for the reactor.

In 2002, TVA began work to restart a previously mothballed nuclear reactor at Browns Ferry Unit 1, which was completed in May 2007. Unit 1 had been mothballed since 1985.

The unit is about 95% complete and remains on target to begin commercial operations between September 2015 and June 2016 at a total cost of between $4.0 billion to $4.5 billion. When online, it will produce 1150 megawatts of carbon-free electricity – enough to meet the needs of 650,000 homes, TVA said.

Work on Watts Bar 2 was suspended in 1985 when the unit was about 55% completed, 12 years after construction began. TVA decided in 2007 to resume the project, initially estimating a cost of $2.5 billion and a completion date of 2012. TVA revised both the cost and the completion date in April 2012.

SOURCES – Wikipedia, World Nuclear News