Operations at the Watts Bar nuclear reactor in east Tennessee are back to normal after an interruption caused by a large tree falling onto a transmission line.

Automatic shutdown procedures started up at the Watts Bar plant when the electrical fault ended up detected on Friday afternoon, said Tennessee Valley Authority spokeswoman Gail Rymer.

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A homeowner cut down the tree that fell onto a 500 kilovolt transmission line close to the plant located near Spring City, about 55 miles southwest of Knoxville, Rymer said. The plant’s lone reactor was back running at full power production by the afternoon on July 1.

The interruption automatically tripped the plant turbine and the reactor shut down as designed. After investigation, TVA restarted the idled reactor Sunday afternoon and hit full power by Monday.

Schneider Bold

The Unit 1 reactor at Watts Bar is capable of supplying the power needs for two cities.

TVA is the nation’s largest public utility. It provides power to about 9 million people in Alabama, Georgia, Kentucky, Mississippi, North Carolina, Tennessee and Virginia.

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