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Watts Bar Unit 2 Achieves Commercial Operation

WBN2 is TVA’s 7th nuclear reactor to provide carbon-free energy for the Tennessee Valley

In a media briefing today at Watts Bar, TVA President & CEO Bill Johnson announced that Watts Bar Unit 2 has officially entered commercial operation.

“Today, we recognize the completion of testing and the start of commercial operation of a new TVA asset that will support all three areas of TVA’s mission – Energy, Environment and Economic Development – for decades to come,” Johnson said. “Over the past three weeks, Watts Bar Unit 2 has delivered more than half-a-billion kilowatt-hours of safe, clean, low cost and carbon-free energy to consumers in the Tennessee Valley. And it’s done so with the reliability that demonstrates its readiness for commercial operation.”

The $4.7 billion capital construction project was completed on budget. The unit now moves to working asset status.

Said Gay Henson, President of EA/IFPTE Local 1937, "We are excited about the accomplishment of our workers at the TVA's Watts Bar. ​This is a huge event towards meeting the country's energy demands and demonstrates a commitment to cleaner energy and providing low cost power the region."

Henson concluded by saying, "I'm very proud of the teamwork, hard work and commitment of our members at Watts Bar. They put their heart and soul into making this dream a reality. It's a great day."

“Watts Bar Unit 2 is a key part of our commitment to produce cleaner energy without sacrificing the reliability and low cost that draws both industry and residents to our area,” Johnson said.
Executive Vice President, Generation & Chief Nuclear Officer Joe Grimes lauded the outstanding effort that brought the project to fruition.

“Bringing the nation’s first new nuclear generation of the 21st Century to commercial operation was an achievement that required the contribution of many,” Grimes said. “That includes the support of the TVA board and executive leadership; the outstanding effort by the craft workers; the support of our major contractors and vendors – Bechtel and Westinghouse – and their many subcontractors; the collaboration of functions across TVA; and the tireless efforts of Watts Bar leadership and employees who dedicated both their professional and personal lives to the project.”

In his remarks, Grimes singled out Mike Skaggs as “the driving force in getting this job done.” In his role as senior vice president of Watts Bar Operations and Construction, Skaggs had overall responsibility for the Unit 2 project since 2012.

“Mike assembled an integrated team of experienced veterans, individuals with extensive operations experience and expert construction contractors to plan and execute this major project,” Grimes said. “What Mike and his team accomplished is a phenomenal effort – and it deserves the highest accolades.”

In a message to Watts Bar Nuclear Plant employees ahead of today’s news briefing, Site Vice President Paul Simmons noted the personal pride he takes in the Watts Bar team’s accomplishments.

“While we often refer to Unit 2 as the ‘nation’s first new nuclear generation in the 21st Century,’ I think of it a little differently today,” Simmons said. “To me it’s more than just a new, complex machine that we safely completed and now operate. It’s the embodiment of teamwork, dedication and commitment, and of our combined expertise and experience. It’s more than an investment by TVA. It’s an investment of energy by the great people here to again lead our nation. It’s an accomplishment we can proudly share with our children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

“But most of all, I’m proud to be part of this team that delivered new nuclear generation to this nation safely and with a commitment to quality. That’s what TVA will tell the world today — the story of your contributions to this amazing team.”

Reprinted from TVAtoday

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