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Industry News

TVA Announces Expected Cost Increase and New Schedule for Watts Bar Nuclear Reactor

LCG, April 6, 2012--The Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) announced yesterday cost increases and schedule delays for the construction of the 1,180-MW, Watts Bar Unit 2 nuclear power plant, located in Spring City, Tennessee. The announcement follows a seven-month construction review.

TVA's senior vice president for Nuclear Construction stated, "The emerging estimate to complete Watts Bar Unit 2 will require additional funding of $1.5 billion to $2 billion, putting the total estimated cost of completion in the range of $4 billion to $4.5 billion. The estimated time to complete is between September and December of 2015."

TVA's president and CEO stated the initial detailed scoping, estimating and planning study (DSEP) completed and approved by the TVA board in 2007 appeared "aggressive but doable" at that time. In 2007, the DSEP approved a project with a 60-month construction schedule and a cost of $2.49 billion.

TVA's CEO stated, "Based on the findings to date, we will be asking the TVA board of directors to approve the continued funding and the extended construction time for Unit 2 at Watts Bar Nuclear Plant." The board is expected to consider the new budget and schedule later this month.

TVA now has in place new management at the site. TVA's senior vice president for Nuclear Construction stated, "We now have a high-confidence cost estimate and milestone schedule. The safe and quality cost-effective completion of Watts Bar Unit 2 is an integral part of achieving TVA's energy goals as set out in the Integrated Resource Plan. And, we have added contingency and an allowance for addressing Fukushima impacts."

Construction on Watts Bar 2 actually began 40 years ago in 1972. The unit was deferred in 1988, when load growth forecasts shrank. Work to complete the unit resumed in 2007. Watts Bar 1 is the last commercial nuclear unit in the United States to come online, and it commenced commercial operation in May 1996.

TVA has received a Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) license for fuel at Watts Bar for use in Unit 2, and the new fuel began arriving last summer.
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