TVA begins refueling Watts Bar Unit 2

Staff photo / Both cooling towers are seen in operation at Watts Bar Nuclear Plant in 2016.
Staff photo / Both cooling towers are seen in operation at Watts Bar Nuclear Plant in 2016.


TVA's newest nuclear reactor began its scheduled refueling and maintenance outage over the weekend after generating power for 490 days.

The Unit 2 reactor at the Watts Bar Nuclear Plant near Spring City, Tennessee, which was completed in 2016, produced more than 13.7 billion kilowatt hours of electricity over the past 16 months since its last refueling outage. The Watts Bar reactor is one of seven nuclear units operated by the Tennessee Valley Authority.

(READ MORE: Federal and Tennessee leaders back plans for more nuclear power in state)

"Refueling and maintenance outages allow our highly skilled team members to make the improvements and upgrades to the unit's systems and components to ensure Watts Bar Unit 2 continues to deliver safe and reliable carbon-free energy for 10 million people across the Tennessee Valley," Tony Williams, the site vice president at Watts Bar, said in a statement about the refueling.

More than 10,000 work activities are planned during the outage at Watts Bar this month, including the loading of 92 new nuclear fuel assemblies, performing inspections of reactor components and steam generators, maintenance of plant equipment and installing unit enhancements.

TVA's nuclear fleet is the third largest in the nation, generating more than 40% of all electricity for TVA in its seven-state region.

— Compiled by Dave Flessner


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