By Editors of Power Engineering
After decades of development, Tennessee Valley Authority announced Watts Bar Unit 2 has completed a series of power ascension tests and reliably operated at full power for more than three weeks.
The final ascension test was completed earlier this month. Unit 2 is now producing more than 1,150 MW.
As a result, TVA announced the plant has officially entered commercial operation and is a working asset.
The $4.7 billion capital construction project was completed on budget, according to the TVA.
Construction began on TVA’s third nuclear plant started in 1973 and Unit 1 at Watts Bar entered commercial operations in 1996. TVA, in 1988, suspended construction activities on Unit 2 due to a reduction in the predicted power demand growth. In 2007, TVA approved completion of Unit 2 after finishing studies of energy needs, schedule, costs, environmental impacts, and financial risks.
Watts Bar Unit 2 has already generated more than 500 million KWh during testing. It now joins six other operating TVA nuclear units to supply more than one-third of the region’s generating capacity, enough for more than 4.5 million homes.
The TVA estimated the Watts Bar, Sequoyah and Browns Ferry nuclear stations have reduced the authority’s carbon emissions by 30 percent since 2005, with that reduction rising to 60 percent by 2020.
“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.