The nation’s first new nuclear generation in 20 years has officially entered commercial operation after the Tennessee Valley Authority’s Watts Bar Unit 2 successfully completed an extensive series of power ascension tests and reliably operated at full power for more than three weeks.
“TVA’s mission is to make life better in the valley by providing reliable, low-cost energy, protecting our area’s natural resources and working to attract business and growth – all priorities simultaneously supported by the completion of Watts Bar Unit 2,” said Bill Johnson, TVA president and CEO.
“Watts Bar Unit 2 is a key part of our commitment to produce cleaner energy without sacrificing the reliability and low cost that draws both industry and residents to our area.”
The $4.7 billion capital construction project was completed on budget. The unit now moves to working asset status.
Watts Bar Unit 2 has already provided consumers across the valley with more than 500 million kilowatt/hours of carbon-free energy during testing. It now joins six other operating TVA nuclear units to supply more than one third of the region’s generating capacity, and meeting the electric needs of more than 4.5 million homes.
Watts Bar, Sequoyah and Browns Ferry nuclear stations have also contributed to reducing TVA’s carbon emissions by 30 percent since 2005, a reduction that will rise to 60 percent by 2020.
“Nuclear power remains the only source of carbon-free energy that is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week,” said Joe Grimes, TVA executive vice president of generation and chief nuclear officer. “TVA believes that Watts Bar Unit 2, and other nuclear units like it across the valley and the nation, represents a vital investment in our clean energy future.”
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.