Nuclear Energy Insight
July 2009—When it comes on line in 2012, Watts Bar 2 will be the United States’ 105th nuclear reactor. Owned by the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA), the reactor is a 1,200 megawatt Westinghouse pressurized water reactor, the twin of Watts Bar 1 that began operation in 1996.
Construction of Watts Bar 2 began in the 1980s but was stopped before completion. Work to finish the plant resumed in October 2007. Although construction of buildings and major components was essentially complete at the start of the current project, the procurement of equipment and engineering work to finish the plant is similar to a new plant construction project.
Masoud Bajestani, TVA’s vice president responsible for completing Watts Bar, says that U.S. suppliers are providing many of the components and materials needed and that major engineering work is expected to be complete by the end of this year.
Bechtel is providing engineering, procurement and construction project management.
Westinghouse is upgrading and replacing older generation instrumentation and control systems, pumps and other equipment on the primary reactor systems.
Meanwhile, Siemens is busy refurbishing the generator and replacing turbine parts. TVA expects to replace or refurbish all of the safety-related and critical components.
One aim of the project and its scope of work are to maintain consistency between the two reactors at Watts Bar. This will enable licensed plant operators to work on either reactor.
Bajestani estimates that construction staff will peak at over 2,000 in 2010, and there will be about 300 additional permanent staff—many already in training programs—needed to operate and maintain the plant.
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