Apr 24, 2018

Watts Bar 2 begins commercial operation

Watts Bar 2, The USA's first new nuclear power reactor in 20 years, recently entered commercial operation. 

The 1165 MWe (net) pressurized water reactor (PWR) reached first criticality in May 2016 and was synchronized to the grid in June. It has since undergone a series of detailed and highly rigorous tests at various power levels to ensure that all systems operate safely as designed. Power ascension testing was completed on 3 October.

watts-bar-2The Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) announced the unit has now entered commercial operation having "completed an extensive series of power ascension tests and reliably operated at full power for more than three weeks". The unit has already supplied "more than 500 million kWh of carbon-free energy during testing".

Watts Bar, near Spring City, Tennessee, is home to two nuclear reactors. Construction of both units first began in 1972, but was suspended in 1985. TVA subsequently decided to resume work on unit 1, which started up in 1996. In 2007, the authority took the decision to complete Watts Bar 2, which had been about 55% complete when construction was suspended. The unit's completion has incorporated upgrades in response to the Fukushima Daiichi accident of 2011 required by the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission of all US nuclear power plants.

TVA President and CEO Bil Johnson announcing the start
of commercial operation at Watts Bar 2 (© TVA)

TVA president and CEO Bill Johnson said: "TVA's mission is to make life better in the Valley by providing reliable, low-cost energy, protecting our area's natural resources and working to attract business and growth - all priorities simultaneously supported by the completion of Watts Bar unit 2."


Source: World Nuclear News




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