Tva makes 5 Billion Bet on Nuclear Resurgence

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Around the Nation

Only 3 utilities have new nuclear reactors under construction in the entire nation. All are in the South:

Tennessee Valley Authority, Watts Bar 2, Spring City, Tenn.

South Carolina Electric & Gas Co., Virgil C. Summer Nuclear Station, Units 2 & 3, Jenkinsville, S.C.

Southern Nuclear Operating Co., Vogtle Electric Generating Plant, Unit 3 & 4, Waynesboro, Ga.

Source: Nuclear Regulatory Commission

Watts Bar Nuclear Power Plant

1972 — Work begins on Watts Bar, a planned 2-unit nuclear power plant

1985 — TVA halts construction efforts

1992 — Construction resumes on the 1st unit at Watts Bar

1996 — Watts Bar 1 comes online, the last new nuclear power unit to begin operation in the 20th century

2007 — TVA restarts construction on the 2nd power unit

2015 — Estimated completion date for Watts Bar 2

Source: Tennessee Valley Authority

By the Numbers

1,150 MW: Amount of electricity the new nuclear power unit is estimated to generate

650,000 homes: The number of homes the new plant can power

$4.0-4.5 billion: Current estimate on the cost of the 2nd power unit at Watts Bar

$2.5 billion: Initial estimates on the construction costs

Source: Tennessee Valley Authority, TVA Inspector General

Tennessee Valley Authority power sources, in millions of kiloWatt hours

Coal-fired: 62,519 — 43%

Nuclear: 52,100 — 36%

Hydroelectric: 18,178 — 12%

Natural gas and/or oil-fired: 13,102 — 9%

Renewable resources, non-hydro: 9 — Less than 1%

Source: Tennessee Valley Authority

TVA has had an on-again, off-again relationship with nuclear power.

The Tennessee Valley Authority has spent billions to start construction on power plants, only to shutter them before completion. The utility spends tens of millions each year maintaining the sites.

In Alabama, TVA started work on the Bellefonte nuclear plant and has spent $6 billion on it since 1974. It remains unfinished. To complete the plant, TVA estimates it would need between $7.4 billion and $8.7 billion.

Closer to Nashville, TVA started work on a proposed nuclear power plant in Hartsville. A single cooling tower — 200 feet tall by 200 feet wide — was built before work stopped. TVA now uses the site for storage.

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