No significant environmental impact if Watts Bar 2 completed

20 June 2007

Completing the Watts Bar 2 reactor would have no significant environmental impact, according to owners the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA). The company is considering completing the unit to help meet expected increases in demand for baseload electricity.

TVA first started construction of WattsBar units 1 and 2 in the mid-1970s, both are 1270 MWe pressurized water reactors. Construction on both units was suspended in 1985,but resumed again on unit 1 in 1990, which has now beenoperating for over ten years.

A supplemental environmental assessment statement (SEIS) has now been completed that updates the original environmental assessment produced in 1972. The SEIS states that any effects on water quality and the local ecology from completion of unit 2 would be insignificant. The only noticeable impacts would be on demand for housing from an anticipated temporary growth in population, and some realted impacts on schools.

TVA hold a construction permit for Watts Bar 2, but that would expire at the end of 2010. Tom Kilgore, President and CEO of TVA, has previously estimated bringing the reactor online would cost $2-3 billion and the company is currently carrying out a study to decide whether to complete it. If TVA decide to go ahead, construction could start in early 2008. TVA have also been considering construction of a new reactor on the site of TVA's unfinished Bellefonte reactor.

In May TVA restarted an uprated Brown Ferry 1, its oldest reactor, after a 22 year-shutdown.

Further information

Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA)

WNN: TVA uprate returning reactor and consider more

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