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Independent Spent Fuel Storage Installation Facility, Watts Bar Nuclear Plant

Rhea County, Tennessee

The Tennessee Valley Authority proposes to construct and operate an Independent Spent Fuel Storage Installation (ISFSI) at the Watts Bar Nuclear Plant (WBN) in Rhea County, Tennessee. An ISFSI is a facility designed and constructed for the dry storage of spent nuclear fuel and is licensed by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission under 10 Code of Federal Regulations Part 72. The proposed ISFSI at WBN would provide additional capacity for on-site storage of spent nuclear fuel to support the continued operation of the plant. TVA prepared a Draft Environmental Assessment (EA) that analyzed the potential environmental impacts of constructing and operating an ISFSI at WBN.  The Draft EA was issued for a 30-day public review that ended May 7, 2014.  Comments received were addressed by TVA in the Final EA.

The WBN ISFSI would be comprised of a vendor-supplied dry cask storage system and a concrete storage pad facility holding up to 80 dry storage casks with supporting infrastructure.  A second storage pad is planned for construction at the site within 20 years to hold up to 100 additional casks. Each pad would be approximately ½ acre in size.  The location of the proposed ISFSI at WBN is adjacent to the plant’s existing northern protected area perimeter.

Currently, spent nuclear fuel from operation of the WBN Unit 1 nuclear reactor is stored in specially-designed storage racks within a steel-lined, concrete spent fuel pool inside the WBN Auxiliary Building.  Because the WBN spent fuel pool is at almost 75% capacity, additional spent fuel storage capacity is needed within 5 years to support Unit 1 operations alone.  Additional capacity is also needed to accommodate spent fuel from the future operation of WBN Unit 2. Project construction activities begin in the summer of 2014 and will last about 18 months.

On June 16, 2014, TVA completed the final EA and issued a finding of no significant impact (FONSI) for the proposed ISFSI at Watts Bar.  The final EA and FONSI are available through the links below. Printed and CD copies may also be requested at the addresses below.


PDF files require Adobe Acrobat Reader.

WBN ISFSI Final Environmental Assessment (PDF, 1.3 mb)

WBN ISFSI Finding of No Significant Impact (PDF, 1.3 mb)


Key Related Documents

The EA incorporates a number of previous analyses, including the following:

Final Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement, Completion and Operation of Watts Bar Nuclear Plant Unit 2.
TVA – June 2007

Fukushima Response Strategy Environmental Assessment.
TVA – March 2013

Final Environmental Impact Statement for the Production of Tritium in a Commercial Light Water Reactor.
Department of Energy – March 1999

Generic Environmental Impact Statement on Decommissioning of Nuclear Facilities Regarding the Decommissioning of Nuclear Power Reactors (NUREG-0586, Supplement 1) – Final Report.
U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission – November 2002

Final Environmental Statement Related to the Operation of Watts Bar Nuclear Plant, Unit 2 (Supplement 2, Docket Number 50-391, NUREG -0498) – Final Report.
U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission – May 2013

Waste Confidence Generic Environmental Impact Statement, Draft Report for Comment (NUREG-2157).
U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission – September 2013


For more information contact:
Matthew Higdon
National Environmental Policy Act Project Manager
Tennessee Valley Authority
400 W. Summit Hill Dr., WT11D
Knoxville, TN  37902-1499
Fax:  (865) 632-3451
Phone:  (865) 632-8051



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