TVA’s Browns Ferry Unit 2 successfully synced to the grid in late March following a scheduled refueling and maintenance outage. The unit is prepped for a two-year cycle of operation.

Upgrades made during the outage included replacing Unit 2’s main generator. The replacement is intended to support TVA’s plan to extend the service life of its reactors with license renewal requests to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC).

Browns Ferry Unit 2 is one of seven TVA nuclear reactors, the third largest in the nation. Unit 2 entered service in March 1975 and uses a General Electric boiling water reactor. It has a capacity of 1,256 MW.

In 2017, the NRC approved TVA’s request for a 14.3% uprate of each reactor’s output at Browns Ferry. The final uprate, for Unit 2, was completed in August 2019, completing the $475 million project.

Also in March, TVA’s Sequoyah Nuclear Plant Unit 2 began its scheduled refueling and maintenance outage after completing a 493-day operating run.  

Some 13,400 work activities are planned during the outage, including loading new fuel assemblies, performing inspections of reactor components, maintaining plant equipment, and installing other enhancements.

In November 2022, TVA’s Watts Bar Unit 2 completed a steam generator replacement project at the 1,150 MW facility in eastern Tennessee. Unit 2 entered service in 2016 at a construction cost of $4.7 billion.

The original steam generators were built in the 1970s using a metal alloy that prematurely developed leaks and other problems at other nuclear plants.

The equipment was installed at Watts Bar in the 1980s before TVA halted work at the site due to cost overruns, employee safety concerns and a drop in projected power demand. 

TVA determined it would be too costly to replace the original steam generators when construction resumed, so Unit 2 entered service as America’s newest reactor with its original steam generators.

The cost to replace the steam generators rose to around $590 million and took weeks longer to install than originally expected due to weather issues.

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