Cost of completing reactor at Watts Bar Nuclear Plant goes up as much as $2 billion

Cost of completing reactor at Watts Bar Nuclear Plant goes up as much as $2 billion

April 5th, 2012 by Pam Sohn and Dave Flessner in News

Watts Bar Nuclear Plant

Photo by Associated Press/Times Free Press.

The cost of completing a second reactor at Watts Bar Nuclear Plant will likely cost TVA up to $2 billion more and take nearly three years longer than what TVA previously projected.

TVA President Tom Kilgore said today he will ask the TVA board for authorization to continue work on Watts Bar Unit 2, which is now projected to cost as much as $4.5 billion to finish and probably won't be completed until December 2015. Kilgore said the plant still is needed and is cheaper than other energy sources even though its costs have jumped by nearly 70 percent from what TVA projected it would spend when the board approved the completion of the unit in 2007.

"Watts Bar Unit 2 remains a cost-effective solution for meeting the region's base load power needs with clean energy at a competitive rate," Kilgore said in a statement today.

Mike Skaggs, TVA senior vice president for nuclear construction, said corrective actions would address "the root cause findings and help deliver on the cost and time estimates."

Skaggs said the construction review conducted since he took over management of the Unit 2 construction last year showed "walk downs to support the initial estimate were not completed. Management was misaligned, and planning was poor."

"We now have a high-confidence cost estimate and milestone schedule," Skaggs said.

Read more in tomorrow's Times Free Press.