New Watts Bar Unit 2 reactor loaded, ready for testing stage

Watts Bar Nuclear Power Plant's Unit 2 reactor | Courtesy of the TVA
The first fuel loading of the new Unit 2 reactor at Watts Bar Nuclear Power Plant near Spring City, Tennessee, was completed recently, the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) said.

TVA said the reactor was granted its full operating license in October and that this fueling marks the first initial core load of a U.S. commercial nuclear reactor in nearly 20 years.

“With this critical step, Watts Bar continues to be the nation’s leader in achieving milestones for the first new nuclear generation of the 21st century,” TVA Chief Nuclear Officer Joe Grimes said. “Unit 2 now becomes a fully operational nuclear reactor as the station further transitions to dual-unit operations.”

TVA said testing on the reactor will begin as it is brought online up to its full operating capacity. During this process, components will be monitored, and there will be several planned shutdowns and restarts to ensure that systems are operating properly.

“It’s been a complete team effort getting the station ready for a safe, quality Unit 2 fuel load,” Watts Bar Site Vice President Kevin Walsh said. “From finishing construction tasks to completing all start-up testing, achieving conditions to safely load fuel required a substantial effort that the team delivered with professionalism and a focus on safety.”

Both units at the facility are expected to produce approximately 2,300 megawatts once the new reactor is at full operational capacity.

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Tennessee Valley Authority 400 W Summit Hill Dr Knoxville, TN 37902

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