Watts Bar nuclear plant will finish late, TVA says

The Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) said the current pace of construction at the $2.5 billion, 1,180 MW Watts Bar 2 nuclear reactor means it "will not meet" the project's 60-month timetable.

Chief Operating Officer Bill McCollum said TVA is reviewing the overall construction and licensing schedule and will take a "deliberate approach that will extend commercial operation" at Watts Bar 2 from late 2012 into 2013.

McCollum said construction progress, along with a licensing delay related to an Atomic Safety and Licensing Board hearing on an unspecified aquatic issue and integrating safety modifications from the Fukushima accident in Japan, will affect the schedule.

McCollum said TVA is working with contractors and will develop a detailed timetable for completion and will assess the impact on costs. "When the NRC issues a final report on Fukushima-related changes, a more accurate assessment of costs will be made," he said.

TVA began building Watts Bar 2 in 1972 and the unit was deferred in 1988. Work to finish the unit resumed in 2007 and is currently about 86 percent complete. TVA received a Nuclear Regulatory Commission license for fuel at the plant for use in Unit 2 and the new fuel began arriving this summer.

TVA also said that Ashok Bhatnagar, senior vice president for the Nuclear Generation Development and Construction group, will retire Oct. 1. Mike Skaggs, current site vice president at Sequoyah Nuclear Plant, was named to replace him. In his new position, Skaggs will have responsibility for completing Watts Bar Unit 2.

John Carlin, site vice president at Constellations R.E. Ginna nuclear power plant, will be the new site vice president at TVA¹s Sequoyah Nuclear Plant.

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