Watts Bar project chief replaced suddenly

Watts Bar project chief replaced suddenly

January 29th, 2011 in Local Regional News

The Tennessee Valley Authority has replaced the head of its $2.5 billion construction program at the Watts Bar Nuclear Plan, one of the utility's highest-paid nuclear managers.

Masoud Bajestani, site vice president for the Unit 2 reactor construction project at Watts Bar, left the federal agency Friday night. TVA spokesman Terry Johnson said today that Bajestani's departure "is unrelated to TVA's nuclear construction program."

TVA Senior Project manager Marie Gillman was appointed interim site director for the Watts Bar project, according to a memo to TVA employees at Watts Bar.

Johnson said the leadership change shouldn't alter the expected project completion in 2013.

Bajestani, a 54-year-old nuclear engineer from Iran, was three years into a five-year contract to finish the reactor - the only new nuclear plant now under construction in the United States. TVA officials did not offer any explanation for Bajestani's sudden departure.

Bajestani earned $619,000 in income and bonuses, according to testimony in his divorce proceedings last year. He also was eligible for performance bonuses and at least another year on his contract beyond 2012 if the new reactor is completed on time and within budget.

See Sunday's Times Free Press for complete coverage.