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Bull Run

Bull Run Fossil Plant

Bull Run Fossil Plant is located on 750 acres in the Claxton community of Anderson County, Tennessee, on the north bank of Bull Run Creek, directly across the Clinch River (Melton Hill Lake) from Oak Ridge, Tennessee.

Bull Run Fossil Plant is the only single-generator coal-fired power plant in the TVA system. When the generator went into operation in 1967, it was the largest in the world in the volume of steam produced.

The plant has a summer net capability of 865 megawatts, enough to supply more than 500,000 homes. The unit’s cross-compound turbogenerators from General Electric can produce a yearly total of 6 billion kilowatt-hours.

Bull Run employs approximately 60 area residents to safely provide affordable, reliable electricity to make life better for the people of the Valley.

Bull Run has served the region for more than 50 years. On Feb. 14, 2019, the TVA Board of Directors approved the retirement of Bull Run Fossil Plant by December 2023.

They reached this decision after a detailed review of fuel, transmission, economic and environmental impacts, as well as reviewing public input. TVA is moving toward the energy system of the future, focusing on cleaner energy generation in its future generating portfolio.

TVA is currently evaluating the future use of the Bull Run site, including potential opportunities to maintain grid stability based on its strategic geographic location in the TVA service territory.


After the sharp increase of power demand due to military needs in the 1950s, subsequent non-military demand required additional generation resources near Knoxville, Tennessee. On March 25, 1961, President John F. Kennedy agreed with TVA Chairman Herbert Vogel’s decision to build Bull Run Fossil Plant.

Construction began a year later and commercial operations began on June 12, 1967. The original construction cost was $141,483,000 – or about $1.4 billion today.

Fourteen times during the plant’s lifecycle, it received the Best Heat Rate award in the U.S.

When it opened, this giant cross-compound machine was nearly 1.5 times as powerful as the largest units then in operation. It represented a new peak achievement in single-unit output.

Community Involvement

Bull Run’s mission of service goes beyond plant boundaries. Every year, Bull Run employees donate items for school supply drives, holiday food drives and provide gifts for children in need each Christmas.

Bull Run hosts plant tours for students to inspire the next generation STEM workforce and supports its local Partners in Education school, Claxton Elementary.

Facts & Figures

  • When Bull Run’s generator went into operation, it became the largest in the world in volume of steam produced
  • Fourteen times during the plant’s lifecycle, it received the Best Heat Rate award in the U.S
  • Bull Run Fossil Plant has a single generating unit. It’s the only single-unit coal-fired power plant in the TVA system
  • The plant has a summer net capability of 860 megawatts and it generates approximately 6 billion kilowatt-hours of electricity a year
  • Bull Run produces enough energy to supply more than 500,000 homes
  • Bull Run was the first TVA unit to operate at supercritical steam pressure
  • Towering over the plant is the 800-foot reinforced, concrete chimney where exhaust is released

Protecting the Environment

Since the 1950s, TVA has made strides to reduce environmental impacts from burning coal. TVA specialists continuously monitor air and water quality to ensure the health and safety of the public.

To learn more about how TVA handles coal ash, click here.