Powering On

In a greener energy future, clean nuclear plants will play a key role. That’s why TVA takes good care of its three-plant nuclear fleet. Here’s a window into the world of upgrades at Browns Ferry Nuclear Plant.

MARCH 23, 2021 — We all expect access to reliable, affordable, and — preferably — clean electricity. One way to get it? Ensure a bright future for nuclear power.

That means caring well for existing plants and upgrading them when necessary to keep them viable for years to come. Consider the case of Browns Ferry Nuclear Plant.

Browns Ferry Unit 2 started a scheduled refueling and maintenance outage in late February after generating more than 19 billion kilowatt-hours of carbon-free electricity in 654 days of reliable operation. This outage, currently in progress, includes the largest scope of turbine deck work since original construction and innovations in fuel assembly components.

All three of the unit’s low-pressure turbines are undergoing a comprehensive replacement of major components, including new rotors, inner casings, steam piping, and bellows as well as turbine supervisory instruments. These tasks require the support of more than 500 additional outage workers and an incredible amount of heavy lifting — with 600 separate crane lifts of components such as rotors weighing up to 327,888 pounds and inner casings weighing up to 200,000 pounds.

Adding Megawatts

Once the Unit 2 turbine project is complete, the unit will generate an estimated 7 megawatts of additional electricity, enough to power more than 4,000 additional homes. This follows 465 megawatt uprate completed at the plant over the past three years.

“TVA’s investment in Browns Ferry and the infrastructure of our power systems ensures that we can continue to provide reliable power for our local power companies and communities when they need us most,” said Browns Ferry Site Vice President Matt Rasmussen.

With these upgrades, Unit 2 will essentially have three brand-new low-pressure turbines, which help convert steam into electricity, increasing the safety and reliability of power generation well into the future. This helps support TVA’s mission of service and economic development, ensuring the energy needs of the Tennessee Valley are met, particularly during the peak demand periods of summer and winter.

Maximum Effort

In total, the Unit 2 outage features more than 14,800 scheduled work activities, including the installation of 320 new fuel assemblies along with upgrades, modifications, repairs and testing of other plant equipment, inspections of reactor components and maintenance of key safety systems. To safely complete this outage, TVA has augmented the Browns Ferry workforce with an estimated 1,300 additional employees, including those being brought in for the turbine upgrade project.

Browns Ferry Unit 2 is one of seven operational TVA nuclear reactors across the Valley. Collectively, TVA’s nuclear fleet is the third largest in the nation, safely and reliably providing more than 40% of all electricity used by nearly 10 million people in the Tennessee Valley. We’re committed to keeping it optimally operational for today and tomorrow. 

Brownsferry Nuclear