WASHINGTON—The Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) board of directors today approved a staff recommendation to restart TVA’s Browns Ferry Unit 1 reactor in northern Alabama. The reactor has not operated since 1985. The project will entail increasing the reactor’s generating capacity to 1,098 megawatts from 1,050 megawatts. The project is estimated to take five years at a cost of between $1.7 billion and $1.8 billion. Following is a statement from Marvin S. Fertel, Nuclear Energy Institute senior vice president:
“The Nuclear Energy Institute supports the Tennessee Valley Authority’s decision to restart Browns Ferry 1. This is an important step to meet the region’s growing demand for energy with the nation’s largest source of electricity that does not pollute the air. Browns Ferry 1 will provide clean electricity for an additional 650,000 homes and businesses at an affordable cost.
“In the years since Browns Ferry 1 ceased operations, the nuclear energy industry has achieved steady, consistent gains in safety and reliability. As a whole, more than 100 commercial reactors are performing at record-high levels of safety and reliability, demonstrating that the dedicated professionals who run our power plants are committed to excellence in all facets of plant operations. In 2001, the industry’s net capacity factor—a measure of efficiency—was 90.7 percent, the first time that it has topped 90 percent. The industry’s electricity production in 2001 hit a record high for the third straight year, at 767 billion kilowatt-hours.
“This outstanding performance shows that nuclear power plants are fulfilling their role as a key component of our nation’s diverse portfolio of energy sources. In recognition of nuclear energy’s value, the Department of Energy’s ‘Nuclear Power 2010’ initiative seeks to increase nuclear generation as part of the Bush Administration’s national energy policy. To further strengthen U.S. energy security and economic progress, nuclear power plant owners are taking several steps to help meet the nation’s rising demand for electricity and cleaner air. These steps include renewal of plant operating licenses for an additional 20 years, and preliminary work, in the form of preparing early site permit applications to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, that could lead to new nuclear power plant orders within the next three to five years.
“The industry’s ‘Vision 2020’ strategic plan calls for the addition of 50,000 megawatts of new nuclear generating capacity to the electricity grid over the next two decades. The decision to restart Browns Ferry 1 is a significant step to achieve that goal, and is part of our industry’s broader effort to assure that Americans will benefit from a reliable, safe supply of clean electricity in the years to come.”
The Nuclear Energy Institute is the nuclear energy industry’s policy organization. This news release and additional information about nuclear energy are available on NEI’s Internet site at http://www.nei.org.