TVA new nuclear power unit completes power testing requirements

TVA Watts Bar

The Tennessee Valley Authority’s Watts Bar Unit 2 this 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 unit completed its final power ascension test – a 50 percent load rejection from full power – on Friday, September 30, and safely returned to full power. Unit 2 is now producing more than 1,150 MW of clean energy 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 August 30 did not directly impact Unit 2’s systems, which responded exactly as designed. 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.

Combining the output of two nuclear generating units, the Watts Bar station is supplying enough electricity to serve 1.3 million homes.

The 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. TVA receives no taxpayer funding, deriving virtually all of its revenues from sales of electricity.

In addition to operating and investing its revenues in its electric system, TVA provides flood control, navigation and land management for the Tennessee River system and assists local power companies and state and local governments with economic development and job creation.

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