Watts Bar plant named 8th biggest U.S. boondoggle

Watts Bar plant named 8th biggest U.S. boondoggle

November 25th, 2015 by Staff Report in Business Around the Region

Control operator Billy Horton works in the unit 2 control room of TVA's Watts Bar nuclear plant Wednesday, April 29, 2015, in Spring City, Tenn. TVA plans for the nuclear plant's second reactor unit to come online by the end of the year.

Control operator Billy Horton works in the unit...

Photo by Doug Strickland /Times Free Press.

The Watts Bar Nuclear plant near Spring City, Tenn., has been named as the eighth biggest boondoggle in the United States, according to the website gobankingrates.com.

Nearly 43 years after construction began, the Unit 2 reactor at the Watts Bar Nuclear Plant got an operating license last month to become the first new American nuclear power plant added to the electric grid in nearly two decades.

The startup of a second reactor at Watts Bar, which comes 19 years after America's last new nuclear unit began power generation also at Watts Bar, cost TVA more than $6 billion over four decades of starts and stops during its construction.

Although the cost of the new unit will initially push up the average expense of TVA-generated power, TVA President Bill Johnson said Watts Bar Unit 2 should provide the agency clean and reliable power, potentially for the next 80 years if TVA can get license extensions for it.

The No. 1 biggest boondoggle is $68 billion for a proposed high-speed train between Los Angeles and San Francisco, according to the website.