TVA filled the new reactor vessel in the Watts Bar Nuclear Plant reactor being built near Spring City, Tenn., this week with 185,000 gallons of water in just over 23 minutes.
The flow filled 18 feet of water into a space 60 feet long and 22 feet wide, and was part of key tests to show that major safety systems will work as designed when the unit comes online in December 2015.
"This was the first time the systems were tested at once, and results showed the systems performed as designed," TVA spokesman Scott Brooks said.
"This full flow open vessel testing happens only once in the life of a nuclear plant."
Open vessel testing is the first of several major milestones completed toward the goal of commercial operation by December, 2015.
Watts Bar 2 is expected to be the first American nuclear unit to come online in the 21st century.
Dave Flessner is the business editor for the Times Free Press. A journalist for 35 years, Dave has been business editor and projects editor for the Chattanooga Times Free Press, city editor for The Chattanooga Times, business and county reporter for the Chattanooga Times, correspondent for the Lansing State Journal and Ingham County News in Michigan, staff writer for the Hastings Daily Tribune in Nebraska, and news director for WCBN-FM in Michigan. Dave, a native ...