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Browns Ferry Nuclear Plant in Athens, Ala., is shown from above.

TVA reactivates Browns Ferry 2

The Tennessee Valley Authority says a reactor at its Browns Ferry Nuclear Plant in North Alabama is again operating at full capacity.

The utility's Unit 2 reactor unexpectedly shut down Saturday during testing after maintenance. Officials said the reactor was operating at 100 percent power Thursday afternoon.

TVA officials said Browns Ferry Unit 2 provides power to 650,000 homes and businesses, and three combined Browns Ferry units generate enough power to supply more than 2 million people. Officials said Unit 2 had a record run of 562 days of continuous operation.

Mortgage rates dip to record low

The average rate on a typical 30-year fixed mortgage last week dipped closer to the lowest on record, a trend that is making home buying more affordable and also enabling more Americans to refinance their loans.

Mortgage buyer Freddie Mac said the average rate on a 30-year loan declined to 3.35 percent from 3.37 percent last week. That's not far from the 3.31 percent rate of about a month ago, the lowest on records dating to 1971. The average on the 15-year fixed mortgage was unchanged at 2.65 percent. The record low is 2.63 percent.

U.S. population at 315 million

The U.S. Census Bureau estimated Thursday that the total U.S. population on Jan., 1 will be 315,091,138. This represents an increase of 2,272,462, or 0.73 percent, from New Year's Day 2012.

In January, one birth is expected to occur every eight seconds in the United States and one death every 12 seconds.