published Thursday, February 17th, 2011

Director named for Watts Bar Nuclear Plant project

  • photo
    This file photo of April 2007, released by the Tennessee Valley Authority, shows the cooling tower of the single operating reactor at the Watts Bar Nuclear Plant in Spring City, Tenn.

The new director for construction of the Unit 2 reactor at the Watts Bar Nuclear Plant has headed construction on the mixed oxide fuel plant being built in South Carolina for the past four years.

TVA announced Wednesday that it has hired Dave Stinson to direct the $2.5 billion program to build America's newest nuclear reactor.

Stinson, who previously worked on the restart of TVA's Browns Ferry Nuclear Power Plant, assumes the job vacated last month when former Watts Bar project director Masoud Bajestani was fired.

TVA officials declined to discuss why Bajestani was dismissed, although records indicate he improperly claimed a financial hardship to tap into his deferred compensation package, then sent $600,000 to his native Iran.

Marie Gillman has managed the Watts Bar 2 project since Jan. 28.

Ashok Bhatnagar, the TVA executive in charge of new plant projects, previously worked with Stinson at Browns Ferry. He said hiring Stinson "will help us reach our goal to have Watts Bar Unit 2 online before the end of 2012.

"Completion of this project will help TVA achieve its vision to be a leading provider of cleaner, low-cost energy by 2020," he said.

Contact Dave Flessner at or 615-757-6340.

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Things will be better in (sic) Sprang City and apparently better in Iran with a new stimulus package from America.

DOE's Inspector General issues report on quality assurance problems identified at construction of MOX fuel fabrication facility "Our review disclosed that the Department had procured and installed safety-class and safety-significant SSCs (structures, systems and components) that did not meet NQA-1 (Quality Assurance Requirements for Nuclear Facility Applications) quality standards. Specifically, we identified multiple instances in which critical components did not meet required quality and safety standards."

Download Audit Report, The Procurement of Safety Class/Safety-Significant Items at the Savannah River Site, DOE/IG-0814 , U.S. Department of Energy, Office of Inspector General, Office of Audit Services, April 2009 (1.4M PDF)

NRC issues Information Notice regarding deficiences observed with concrete placement at planned MOX fuel plant and other nuclear facilities In view of the deficiencies observed with concrete placement at the MOX fuel plant construction site in South Carolina, and similar problems at nuclear power plant construction sites in Finland and France, the NRC has issued an Information Notice to alert other licensees on the matter.

Download IN2008-17: Construction experience with concrete placement, Oct. 22, 2008

It’s Time to Pull the Plug on the MOX “Factory to Nowhere” The MOX factory has been besieged by poor planning and mismanagement from the beginning, causing the estimated cost to balloon from $1 billion to nearly $5 billion today and the estimated startup date to slip by at least a decade, to 2016. But even if the plant starts producing MOX fuel on schedule, which is not a good bet, it is far from assured that it will have any place to send it. Thus the plant is truly a “factory to nowhere.”

February 17, 2011 at 2:54 p.m.
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