The Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) has approved the expenditure of a further $200 million on the completion of Watts Bar 2, which would bring final spending on the project to a total of up to $4.7 billion.
|Fuel loading at Watts Bar 2 in December 2015 (Image: TVA)
At a presentation of the company's first quarter earnings, TVA's president and CEO Bill Johnson said that the extra spending was approved on 1 January. The expenditure is needed "to retain nuclear experts longer, make additional safety enhancements related to regulatory requirements, and some contingency," Johnson said.
The scope of the project has increased by $125 million through regulatory orders and other items occurring since TVA's $4.5 billion estimate to complete the project was approved, Johnson said. These orders were particularly related to regulatory requirements brought in after the 2011 Fukushima accident and cybersecurity issues, which were not foreseen in the original budget.
Construction of Watts Bar 2, a 1165 MWe (net) pressurized water reactor, began in 1972 but work was suspended in 1985 when the unit was about 55% complete. TVA decided to resume work on the unit in 2007, awarding an engineering, procurement and construction contract to Bechtel.
TVA received an operating licence for the unit from the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission in October, and fuel loading began in early December. Johnson confirmed that Watts Bar 2 is expected to begin commercial operation by the end of June. This would make it the first nuclear plant to start up in the US since Watts Bar 1, which was licensed in 1996 after a similarly lengthy construction hiatus. It will also be the first US nuclear plant to comply with all the NRC's post-Fukushima upgrades as well as the newest cybersecurity requirements.
Researched and written
by World Nuclear News