A TVA contractor on Wednesday cut 600 craft workers and 200 support staff at the Watts Bar Nuclear Plant to reduce costs and improve work performance in the delayed construction of a second reactor there.
Most of the laid-off workers are contractors with Bechtel Power Corp., and a few are contractors with Day & Zimmerman, according to Tennessee Valley Authority spokeswoman Barbara Martocci.
About 2,500 contract workers of the original 3,346 will continue to work on the new unit 2 reactor, which is expected to be completed and brought online in 2013.
"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," Martocci said.
Mike Skaggs, TVA senior vice president of nuclear generation development and construction, said construction schedule delays prompted TVA to re-evaluate the number of workers onsite.
"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," he said. "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, he said.
Michelle Michael, spokeswoman for Bechtel, said she did not know how many of the laid-off contract workers live in the Chattanooga area. She said the contractor and TVA have worked together to "to see how the work can be better aligned."
"We're committed to working with TVA to deliver Watts Bar 2. Our focus is always in helping customers achieve their goals," she said.
Pam Sohn has been reporting or editing Chattanooga news for 25 years. A Walden’s Ridge native, she began her journalism career with a 10-year stint at the Anniston (Ala.) Star. She came to the Chattanooga Times Free Press in 1999 after working at the Chattanooga Times for 14 years. She has been a city editor, Sunday editor, wire editor, projects team leader and assistant lifestyle editor. As a reporter, she also has covered the police, ...