TVA cuts workforce at nuclear power plant

The Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) said that it will reduce the number of temporary construction workers at the 1,180 MW Watts Bar Unit 2 nuclear power plant project. TVA said in a statement that the utility is “working to build a high quality nuclear generating unit that will operate safely and reliably for many years to come in support of our vision of being one of the nation's leading providers of low-cost and cleaner energy by 2020.”

TVA is making changes to the contract with the project’s prime contractor, Bechtel Power Corp. In total, roughly 600 craft workers and 200 support staff, mostly employed by Bechtel or Day & Zimmerman, will be reduced in the near future, TVA said.

"As we announced this past summer, the pace of construction at Watts Bar Unit 2 has been slower than originally planned for the aggressive five-year project," said Mike Skaggs, TVA senior vice president of Nuclear Generation Development and Construction. "Therefore, TVA has been evaluating the best path forward to efficiently complete the project with a primary focus on safety, quality and cost. The company is taking a deliberate approach in the review and development of the overall construction and licensing schedule."

In August of 2007, TVA decided to complete construction of Watts Bar Unit 2 to help meet the Tennessee Valley’s growing demand for power. Unit 2 is expected to be the first new reactor to come online in the U.S. since Watts Bar Unit 1 in 1996. The $2.5 billion project was expected to create 2,300 contract worker positions during the height of construction.

TVA said that having fewer workers on the project will help TVA and contract partners better manage the work to complete the construction, start-up testing and transition to commercial operation while controlling costs.

Watts Bar Unit 2 is scheduled to come online in 2013.

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