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Watts Bar Nuclear Plant

image of watts bar nuclear plant

TVA’s third nuclear power plant, Watts Bar Nuclear Plant, is located on 1,700 acres on the northern end of Chickamauga Reservoir, in east Tennessee.

The plant was named for a sandbar at Watts Island that hampered navigation on the Tennessee River until it was flooded by Watts Bar Reservoir.

Groundbreaking on Watts Bar Nuclear Plant occurred in 1972, with major construction beginning a year later.

Watts Bar Unit 1

  • Unit 1, the last commercial nuclear unit in the United States to come online in the 20th century, began commercial operation in May 1996.
  • Unit 1 is capable of producing 1,170 megawatts of electricity, enough to serve 650,000 homes.
  • In its 14 years of safely generating electricity, Unit 1, with an operating capacity factor of 95 percent, has produced more than 128 billion kilowatt hours of electricity.
  • In September 2000, Unit 1 completed its first “breaker-to-breaker run” – operating non-stop from one refueling outage to its next planned refueling outage – and its longest ever continuous operating run of 512 days, 21 hours, and 19 minutes.
  • Unit 1 completed its second “breaker-to-breaker” run of 437 days, 1 hour, and 36 minutes on February 10, 2008.
  • About 760 TVA employees help ensure the safe and reliable operation of Watts Bar Unit 1, which has an annual payroll of approximately $81 million.
  • Watts Bar employees serve as Partners in Education with four area schools and participate in a Community Services Group, which contributes to the well-being of the residents in surrounding counties by providing food baskets, holding toy and clothing drives, and answering requests for needed assistance.

Watts Bar Unit 2

  • image of watts barIn August of 2007, following detailed studies of energy needs, schedule, costs, environmental impacts, and financial risks, TVA decided to complete construction of Unit 2 to help meet the Tennessee Valley’s growing demand for power.
  • Unit 2 will be the first new reactor to achieve commercial operations in the U.S. since Watts Bar Unit 1 in 1996.
  • The $2.5 billion project to complete Unit 2 will put an existing asset to work for TVA customers by 2013 and add 1,180 megawatts to the TVA power system.
  • Approximately 2,300 contract workers are expected during the height of construction, and the project will result in about 290 additional permanent jobs at the plant.
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