Watts Bar Unit 2 project construction update
October 29, 2013
Workers are continuing to complete Watts Bar 2 in a safe and high quality manner, on time and within budget. The team recognizes there are challenges ahead and will work through those the right way to deliver a safe, reliable and efficient unit. That is the bottom line in the Fifth Quarterly Update to the Watts Bar 2 Estimate to Complete being released today.
Key points in the quarterly update, which covers May - July, include:
- Safety performance remained strong, with workers exceeding more than 21.3 million work hours without a lost-time incident.
- The Quality Control Acceptance Rate remained high, with 96 percent of work presented for inspection meeting quality control requirements.
- The project remains on track for most likely completion by December 2015 and within a cost range of $4 billion to $4.5 billion.
- Bulk construction is in the final phase, and the project is focusing on completing and readying plant systems for pre-operational testing.
- Challenges to finishing Watts Bar 2 have remained consistent and include:
- Completing complex work and required documentation of work
- Performing testing on shared Unit 1/Unit 2 systems without impacting the safe and reliable operations of Unit 1
- Addressing regulatory and licensing issues
- Successfully transitioning the site to dual-unit operations
Completing the Watts Bar 2 project in a safe manner, on time and within budget will validate the investment TVA has made in nuclear power as a key component in generating safe, reliable, carbon-free, low-cost energy and the value of using a diverse mix of energy sources to meet the Valley's electricity needs.
TVA's confidence in the new completion schedule
TVA has high confidence in the new completion schedule and cost estimates for Unit 2.
The estimate to complete – called the ETC – was prepared in collaboration with TVA’s construction contractors and outside experts. The ETC includes a root-cause analysis of the factors that took the project off track and detailed estimates of the costs and time needed to complete the remaining work.
TVA has taken corrective actions to address the issues identified in the root cause analysis and move the project forward.
The ETC also includes detailed estimates for:
- the amount of conduit, cable, piping and other materials still to be installed;
- support activities, like scaffolding, insulation and painting; and
- labor rates.
To validate these estimates, visual inspections were conducted to assess the work already completed, verify the scope of work remaining and confirm the quantity of materials needed.
To provide the highest degree of confidence in the cost and schedule forecasts, two independent assessments were made to confirm the ETC. One assessment reviewed the methodology to prepare the ETC, and the other validated the root cause analysis.
Why TVA needs more nuclear power
TVA’s vision is to be one of the nation’s leading providers of low-cost and cleaner energy by 2020. Even with increases in energy efficiency and demand response programs, TVA will need more generating capacity to achieve its vision and support economic growth and job creation in the Tennessee Valley region.
TVA’s Integrated Resource Plan calls for future generation from a balanced mix of reliable, cleaner and competitively priced sources that include more nuclear power.
TVA already is a leader in the production of safe carbon-free nuclear energy. Nuclear power provides about one-third of the electricity generated by TVA and about 70 percent of TVA’s clean generation.
Nuclear is the best technology for keeping reliability high and rates competitive. It is cleaner than coal and produces no harmful greenhouse gases. And while expensive and complicated to build, nuclear units are economical to operate.
Industry-wide, nuclear is second only to hydroelectric in low production, fuel, and operations and maintenance costs. TVA’s nuclear fuel expenses were about a half cent per kilowatt-hour in fiscal year 2011, compared with 3 cents for coal and 4 cents for natural gas and fuel oil. In 2010, TVA’s combined fuel, operations and maintenance costs for nuclear generation were less than 2 cents per kilowatt-hour.
By increasing nuclear generation, pursuing renewable energy sources and promoting energy efficiency, TVA will rely less on coal, continue steady progress in reducing air emissions, and provide reliable, economical power for the people of our region.
How Watts Bar 2 will help
TVA’s Integrated Resource Plan identified Watts Bar 2 as an essential new source of nuclear generation. Completing Unit 2 will put an existing asset to work for TVA customers and add more than 1,100 megawatts of safe, clean, reliable and economical base load generating capacity to the TVA power system.
Not only will Unit 2 help meet growing demand for electricity in the Tennessee Valley, it will help replace older, more costly and less efficient coal units that are being retired. One nuclear unit can make as much electricity as five to 10 coal units without carbon emissions. It is estimated that Watts Bar Unit 2 will help TVA avoid coal-fired emissions of 6 million to 8 million tons of carbon dioxide a year.
Bringing Watts Bar Unit 2 online will directly support TVA’s vision to be one of the nation’s leading providers of low-cost and cleaner energy by 2020 and, specifically, to:
- lead the Southeast in increased energy efficiency, and
- lead the nation in improving air quality and increased nuclear production.
Economic impact of Unit 2 construction
The Unit 2 construction project employs around 2,400 contractors as of April 2012. About 290 permanent positions have been added to support two-unit operation of the plant.
TVA provides financial compensation to cities and counties affected by construction of new generation. In 2012, five counties and 18 cities affected by the construction of Watts Bar Unit 2 will receive more than $2.9 million in compensation from TVA.
Vital statistics about Watts Unit 2
- Location: Near Spring City in southeastern Tennessee
- Acreage: 1,700-acre site on Chickamauga Reservoir
- Quantity: 2
- Height: 506 feet
- Diameter: 405 feet at ground level
- Water flow: 410,000 gallons per minute
- 500,000-volt transmission lines: 5
- 161,000-volt transmission lines: 2
- Westinghouse pressurized water reactor that is expected to generate 1,150 megawatts (summer net capability) – enough to supply power for about 650,000 Tennessee Valley homes
- Reactor core holds 193 fuel assemblies, each contains 264 fuel rods
- Height: 43.8 feet
- Weight: About 265 tons (empty)
- Inside diameter: 14 feet
- Steel thickness: About 9.4 inches
- Operating temperature: About 586 degrees Fahrenheit
- Operating pressure: About 2,235 pounds per square inch
- Inside height: 197.3 feet
- Inside diameter: 115 feet
- Steel inner thickness: 1 inch
- Design pressure: 15 pounds per square inch
- Quantity: 4
- Height: 67 feet 8 inches
- Weight: About 380 tons
- Operating temperature: About 600 degrees Fahrenheit
- Operating pressure: 1,000 pounds per square inch
- Height: 16 feet
- Length: 40 feet
- Stator weight: About 1,000 tons
- Rotor weight: About 200 tons
- Ratings: 1,411 megawatts, 24,000 volts
- Speed: 1,800 rotations per minute
- High pressure: A single 8-stage double-flow axial turbine
- Low pressure: A series of three, 8-stage double-flow axial turbines
- Maximum blade diameter: 16 feet
- Rotor weight: About 177 tons
- Tubes: About 27,410
- Tube length: About 115 feet
- Tube diameter: 1 inch