Watts Bar Unit Two Now Has An Operating License

RHEA COUNTY, TN (WDEF-TV_- After years of preparation and construction, Watts Bar Unit 2 is now just months away from becoming the first nuclear generation in the 21st century.
TVA announced this morning that the Nuclear Regulatory Commission has issued a license for the new unit.
It’s a milestone, but it’ll be a few more months before that electricity arrives at your home.

The approval of a license for nuclear power generator in this country is a rare occurence. This is the first license issued since 1996, and that one was unit one of this same Watts Bar plant.

BILL JOHNSON, TVA PRESIDENT " And as you see behind me…you have two cooling towers with condensates coming out from both. If you’re in our business…this is a beautiful sight."

TVA president Bill Johnson along with representatives of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission and the team that built unit two celebrated the moment at a news conference. Johnson says the plant will provide clean reliable energy for decades to come. The license is for 40 years.

BILL JOHNSON "The issuance of this license for unit two moves us closer to integrating both units for commercial operation. When unit two is operational it will provide about 1150 megawatts of power. From both units we’ll be able to power about 1.3 million homes here in the valley."

In the wake of the Fukushima disaster, this plant had built-in safeguards and including cleaner operation.

JOE GRIMES, TVA CHIEF NUCLEAR OFFICER "Achieving this milestone at a time when new nuclear is under intense scrutiny serves to bolster confidence in TVA and the nuclear industry."

BILL JOHNSON "This plant avoids 6 to 8 million tons of CO2 a year…which supports the idea everybody has of a clean environment and clean air is good for everybody."

Nuclear is 35 percent of TVA’s generation.

MIKE SKAGGS, SR. V.P. FOR CONSTRUCTION " We do have quite a bit more work to do. We have several more weeks of activities to complete before we can load the fuel…and then we have several months of power asccension testing that we’ll complete to verify the reliability and operation of the system and the plant."

Demonstrating again why, after years of work, this is the only nuke plant licensed so far in this century.

With the licensing of Watts Bar Unit 2, there will be a hundred reactors in 30 states, providing nearly 20% of America’s electrical power."

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