TVA refuels Sequoyah, Chattanooga gas prices up and other business news

File photo/Dave Flessner/Times Free Press / The Sequoyah Nuclear Power Plant on Tennessee River near Soddy-Daisy is one of three nuclear power plants operated by TVA.

TVA refuels Sequoyah unit

The newest reactor at the Sequoyah Nuclear Plant near Soddy-Daisy is once again generating 1,220 megawatts of electricity for the Tennessee Valley Authority after plant workers completed a 28-day refueling and maintenance outage last week.

In addition to replacing 88 of the unit's 193 fuel assemblies, inspections of various plant systems were conducted during the past month to confirm the components are able to perform their safety functions. Other major maintenance activities included replacing or refurbishing several motors, valves and other plant components.

At full power, the Sequoyah Nuclear Plant Unit 2 generates enough power for 650,000 Tennessee Valley homes.

"Nuclear power plants are among the safest and most reliable sources of low-cost, clean energy that safeguards our region's and nation's energy security," Tom Marshall, Sequoyah site vice president, said in a statement Monday. "The entire Sequoyah team, supported by our valued and highly skilled union and contract partners, safely completed more than 13,400 work activities during the outage, which has enabled us to continue to provide reliable, carbon-free electricity for the next 18-month operating cycle."

Local gas prices up again last week

Average gasoline prices in Chattanooga edged 1.9 cents per gallon higher in the past week to an average of $3.32 per gallon Monday, according to GasBuddy's survey of 170 stations in Chattanooga.

Prices in Chattanooga are 25.4 cents per gallon higher than a month ago but are still 41.2 cents per gallon lower than a year ago.

Chattanooga gas prices also average 33 cents a gallon below the U.S. average of $3.65 per gallon.

"With oil prices touching their highest level of 2023 at nearly $83 per barrel, the national average price of gasoline has continued to inch higher, with 45 of the nation's 50 states seeing prices rise over the last week," Patrick De Haan, head of petroleum analysis at GasBuddy, said in a report Monday. "Oil prices remain a wild card, but we're likely a few weeks away from seeing the national average peak. Whether it hits $4 per gallon or not is still perhaps a 50/50 chance."

Macron defends older retirement

French President Emmanuel Macron said Monday he heard people's anger about raising the retirement age from 62 to 64, but insisted it was needed to keep the pension system afloat as the population ages.

In an televised address to the nation, Macron said "this changes were needed to guarantee everyone's pension," after he enacted the law Saturday. "They represent an effort, that's true."

"Gradually working more means also producing more wealth for our whole country," he added.

Macron stressed that no consensus has been found with unions and other political parties.

"Has this reform been accepted? Obviously, no," he said.

Court rejects GM challenge to rival

The U.S. Supreme Court has denied a request from General Motors Co. to hear its racketeering lawsuits against crosstown competitor Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, now known as Stellantis NV, for allegedly trying to bribe UAW officials.

GM in January asked the justices to review its claims against FCA after the U.S. 6th Circuit Court of Appeals in August affirmed a federal judge's decision to toss the lawsuit filed in 2019. The Supreme Court's decision not to hear the case lets the lower court ruling stand.

In a statement, Stellantis spokesperson Shawn Morgan said the company is "pleased that the U.S. Supreme Court has denied GM's latest attempt to resuscitate the baseless claims that GM has sought to bring in various forms in multiple jurisdictions. Today's decision upholding the district court's dismissal of GM's lawsuit is another reaffirmation that its claims are meritless."

GM sued its competitor alleging FCA's late CEO Sergio Marchionne orchestrated a multimillion-dollar racketeering conspiracy that used bribes to corrupt three rounds of bargaining with the United Auto Workers in order to harm GM. The Detroit automaker has said it lost "billions" as a result of the alleged bribery conspiracy to boost GM's labor costs during negotiations with the UAW.

David's Bridal bankrupt again

David's Bridal has filed for bankruptcy protection, the second time for the chain in the past five years.

The announcement Monday arrives days after the company, one of the largest sellers of wedding gowns and formal wear, said it could eliminate more than 9,200 jobs across the United States. Based in Conshohocken, Pennsylvania, the company has about 300 stores across dozens of states and employs more than 11,000 workers.

David's Bridal is looking to sell the company, but its stores remain open and its fulfilling orders without delay. Its online platforms also remain available to help people with their wedding planning needs.

The company last filed for bankruptcy protection in 2018 but re-emerged a year later. Monday's filing was made in New Jersey.