Employees at the Tennessee Valley Authority’s Browns Ferry Nuclear Plant in Athens, Alabama, safely finished a planned refueling and maintenance outage Sunday that prepares the unit for the next 24 months of power operations.
Plant operators are gradually increasing the reactor to full power to generate enough power for over 650,000 homes.
“We did a significant amount of work that prepares Unit 3 to safely and reliably generate low-cost electricity so we can better serve the people of the Tennessee Valley in the coming months,” said Steve Bono, Browns Ferry site vice president.
In addition to replacing 304 of 764 fuel assemblies, employees conducted detailed inspections of reactor vessel components, performed maintenance and upgrades of plant equipment and installed modifications that improve safety margins and reliability.
During this outage, workers also upgraded equipment to support a planned extended power uprate for all three units that will add 465 megawatts of generating capability, which will enable the site to serve an additional 280,000 homes in the Tennessee Valley. An additional 1,500 TVA and contract employees supplemented the site’s regular staff in performing more than 19,000 scheduled and emergent outage work activities.
Browns Ferry Unit 3 is one of six operational TVA nuclear reactors, supplying nearly one-third of all electricity used by more than 9 million people across the Tennessee Valley. A seventh reactor, Watts Bar Unit 2, has completed construction, been issued an operating license, and is currently undergoing a series of tests to ensure operational readiness.
The Tennessee Valley Authority is a corporate agency of the United States that provides electricity for business customers and local power distributors serving more than 9 million people in parts of seven southeastern states.
TVA receives no taxpayer funding, deriving virtually all of its revenues from sales of electricity. In addition to operating and investing its revenues in its electric system, TVA provides flood control, navigation and land management for the Tennessee River system and assists local power companies and state and local governments with economic development and job creation.