The First US Nuke In 20 Years Goes Online—TVA Project

The Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) announced that the Watt Bar Unit 2 nuclear generation unit is now online at full power, providing commercial electrical energy.  It is the first new nuclear power generation unit in 20 years.  Good for them. TVA has 6 other Nukes providing power.


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..”

A Westinghouse pressurized water reactor is expected to generate 1,150 megawatts (summer net capability). The capital cost of the complete generation unit was $4.7 billion.

From the TVA press release:

Watts Bar Unit 2, near Spring City, Tenn., has already provided consumers across the Valley with more than 500 million kilowatt/hours of carbon-free energy during testing. It now joins six other operating TVA nuclear units to supply more than one third of the region’s generating capacity, and meeting the electric needs of more than 4.5 million homes.

Watts Bar, Sequoyah and Browns Ferry nuclear stations have also contributed to reducing TVA’s carbon emissions by 30 percent since 2005, a reduction that will rise to 60 percent by 2020.

“Nuclear power remains the only source of carbon-free energy that is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week,” said Joe Grimes, TVA executive vice president of generation and chief nuclear officer. “TVA believes that Watts Bar Unit 2, and other nuclear units like it across the Valley and the nation, represents a vital investment in our clean energy future.”


The reduced CO2 should be a selling point for the warmers, but by and large they oppose nuclear energy. As a skeptic, the CO2 reduction is not a big thing to me, but I believe that fossil fuels will run out in time and nuclear is the best replacement. Why? Because renewable sources such as wind and solar have not yet, and may never, demonstrated they are viable sources of “… available 24 hours a day, seven days a week” power.

A comment made on the Instapundit blog (October 19) which carries this announcement is noted below. I have not tried to validate all the comparison made by the submitter of the comment, but believe it to be generally a reasonable comparison:

Reader Eric McErlain emails:

Some facts about Watts Bar 2:

The 1,150 MWe Watts Bar 2 reactor provides clean electricity for 650,000 homes & businesses.

Watts Bar 2 alone will produce as much electricity as 1/3rd of America’s wind turbines.

A wind farm generating as much power as Watts Bar 2 would require 600-800 square miles of land. Solar would require an area as large as Chattanooga.

With WB2 online, TVA will be able to reduce emissions 60% over 2005 levels in just 4 years.

Along with Watts Bar 1, WB2 will provide nearly 1,000 permanent jobs and generate $470 million in goods and services every year.

Thanks to Eric McErlain and Instapundit.


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