(WDEF) Tennessee Valley Authority's Sequoyah Nuclear Plant Unit 1 began a scheduled refueling outage on Monday after completing 509 consecutive days of operation.
The Unit 1 reactor generated 14.8 net gigawatt hours since its last refueling about 18 months ago.
During the refueling outage, 93 fuel assemblies will be replaced and maintenance will be performed that cannot be done while the unit is online. Sequoyah's Unit 2 will continue to operate and generate energy as usual.
"Refueling Unit 1 will help ensure both Sequoyah units continue to safely generate reliable and cleaner, carbon-free energy for years to come," said John Carlin, Sequoyah Nuclear Plant vice president.
"Nuclear generation accounts for over 30 percent of TVA's balanced energy portfolio. We plan to invest in Sequoyah's efficient operation so that it remains a low-cost generator for the millions of people in the Valley who rely on TVA power," he said.
More than 800 contractor workers will supplement Sequoyah’s employees during the refueling outage. The project will involve more than 160,000 work-hours until the outage is completed.
“Each person working at Sequoyah is tasked with ensuring nuclear, radiological and industrial safety is their focus to return Unit 1 to reliable, safe operation,” Carlin added.
At full capacity, Sequoyah's 1,160-megawatt Unit 1 and 1,160-megawatt Unit 2 combined produce enough electricity for more than 1.3 million homes. TVA also operates three units at the Browns Ferry Nuclear Plant in Athens, Ala., and one unit at the Watts Bar Nuclear Plant near Spring City, Tenn., where a second unit is scheduled for completion in late 2015.
The Tennessee Valley Authority is a corporate agency of the United States that provides electricity for business customers and local power distributors serving 9 million people in parts of seven southeastern states. TVA receives no taxpayer funding, deriving virtually all of its revenues from sales of electricity. In addition to operating and investing its revenues in its electric system, TVA provides flood control, navigation and land management for the Tennessee River system and assists local power companies and state and local governments with economic development and job creation.