Newest reactor at TVA's Browns Ferry nuclear plant completes record-long run and more business news

FILE - This March 12, 2008 file photo shows Tennessee Valley Authority's Browns Ferry Nuclear Plant near Athens, Ala. The Unit 3 reactor at Browns Ferry completed the longest run in its history last Friday night. (AP Photo/Jay Reeves, File)

Browns Ferry reactor completes record run

The newest reactor at TVA's Browns Ferry Nuclear Plant completed a record-long run over the weekend and is now shut down for refueling and to replace four new feedwater heaters, each weighing up to 50 tons.

The Tennessee Valley Authority, which operates seven nuclear reactors, said the Unit 3 reactor at the Browns Ferry plant near Athens, Alabama, generated more than 20 billion kilowatt-hours of electricity over 690 consecutive days of power production. That's enough electricity to power the average home for about 1.8 million years.

"Our carbon-free nuclear fleet is a critical element of our clean energy plan and the improvements we're making during this outage highlight how we're strengthening our energy infrastructure to provide reliable service for our customers and communities when they need us most," Browns Ferry Site Vice President Matt Rasmussen said in a statement this week.

More than 100 additional outage workers will be at Browns Ferry to work on the feedwater heater upgrades, part of the total of about 850 contractors and shared resource employees from other TVA nuclear stations being brought in to prepare Unit 3 for its next two-year cycle of power generation. In total, the Unit 3 outage will feature more than 11,000 scheduled work activities, including the installation of 328 new fuel assemblies along with upgrades, modifications, repairs and testing of other plant equipment, including inspections of reactor components and maintenance of key safety systems.

Nations to release 60 million barrels of oil

The International Energy Agency's 31 member countries have agreed to release 60 million barrels of oil from their strategic reserves "to send a strong message to oil markets" that supplies won't fall short after the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

The board of the Paris-based IEA made the decision Tuesday at an extraordinary meeting of energy ministers chaired by U.S. Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm. She says half the release will come from the United States and that the group's decision "reflects our common commitment to address significant market and supply disruptions."

Russia plays an outsized role in global energy markets as the third-largest oil producer.

Target plans more stores, brands and online sales

Target will invest up to $5 billion this year in physical stores, remodels, new brands and expanding its online fulfillment as the discounter continues to drive sales growth and differentiate itself from rivals.

The plans, announced Tuesday at its annual investor meeting held in New York, including opening 30 new stores from midsize locations in dense suburban areas to small stores in cities like Charleston, South Carolina. It also plans to remodel 200 of its existing stores, reaching more than half of its 1,900 stores this year. The Minneapolis retailer also aims to roll out brand partnerships including opening 250 more Ulta Beauty shops in its stores, with plans to eventually operate 800 shops.

The moves come as Target pushed through headwinds - from congested ports to inflation that's been the highest in 40 years - to boost fourth-quarter profit by nearly 12% and sales by 9.4%.

"We continue to see a resilient consumer," Target CEO Brian Cornell told analysts at the meeting.

Stellantis to double sales and be carbon-free by 2030

The maker of Jeep SUVs and Ram pickup trucks on Tuesday said it will become carbon neutral starting by 2038 and double its net revenues by 2030.

The CEO of Stellantis NV, the merger between Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV and French automaker Groupe PSA, laid out the company's 2030 long-term strategy to achieve $335 billion (300 billion euro) in net annual revenue. The plan covers a critical time in the auto industry's transformation toward electrified and connected vehicles.

"Dare Forward 2030 inspires us to become so much more than we've ever been," CEO Carlos Tavares said in a statement. "We are expanding our vision, breaking the limits and embracing a new mindset, one that seeks to transform all facets of mobility for the betterment of our families, communities and the societies in which we operate."

The strategy accelerates Stellantis' commitments even from the electrification plans it shared last summer. By 2030, 50% of U.S. sales will be electrified, up from 40%, with 25 available battery electric vehicles and 100% of sales in Europe will be electrified, up from 70%. Stellantis anticipates having 400 gigawatt hours of vehicle battery capacities by then, up 140 gigawatt hours.

Stellantis teased the first-ever battery electric Jeep, which is set to launch early next year.

- Compiled by Dave Flessner