Watts Bar Nuclear Unit 2 Enters Commercial Operation

In May 1996, Unit 1 at Tennessee Valley Authority’s Watts Bar Nuclear Facility in Rhea County, TN, became the last US nuclear reactor to reach commercial operation in the 20th Century. Following design modifications and rising costs, construction on Unit 2 ceased in the mid 1980’s and didn’t resume until 2008. Testing of the unit began in July 2016 and, on October 19th, after operating at full capacity for three weeks, Unit 2 was declared fully operational.
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The addition of Watts Bar Unit 2 to TVA’s nuclear generating fleet increases nameplate capacity by 1,269 MW for a total of 8,641 MW. Nuclear-powered generation now accounts for a full quarter of TVA’s fuel mix.
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Accolades for Unit 2 include it being the 100th nuclear unit currently operating in the United States and the first to come online in the 21st Century.
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Andrea Baker – Energy Analyst – Power