ATHENS, Ala. ― The Tennessee Valley Authority’s Browns Ferry Nuclear Plant has earned national recognition from the Nuclear Energy Institute for part of a multi-year project that enables the plant to produce more carbon-free energy from its three units.
Called an “extended power uprate,” the project contributes to the increasing amount of clean energy TVA produces across seven states. TVA’s power supply is now nearly 60% carbon-free.
This Top Innovative Practice award recognizes the project’s use of innovative technology to design, fabricate and install new replacement steam dryers on all three Browns Ferry units. This equipment handles the increased steam flow produced by the power uprate. The higher power output means that Browns Ferry’s three units can generate a combined total of up to 465 megawatts of added electricity, enough to power an additional 280,000 new homes. This brings the plant’s total capacity to more than 3,800 megawatts, enough to power more than 2 million average homes with carbon-free energy.
“This tremendous honor recognizes the hard work, commitment and technological excellence exhibited by everyone who contributed to making the extended uprate project a success at Browns Ferry,” said Steve Bono, Browns Ferry site vice president. “This includes the dedicated TVA employees and contract partners who installed the upgrades and modifications that prepared our units to safely and reliably generate even more carbon-free energy. That reliability is reflected as we mark more than 600 days of continuous operation for unit 1.”
The steam dryer innovation recognized by this latest award is the result of collaboration between the EPU team based at Browns Ferry and two vendor partners, Sargent & Lundy and General Electric-Hitachi, to develop a new and robust design to support the higher steam flow rates. Following installation of all EPU modifications, extensive power ascension testing on each unit verified design specifications to ensure safety and reliability.
“This is another proud moment for TVA, Browns Ferry, the EPU project team and our vendor partners,” said Tim Rausch, TVA chief nuclear officer. “Beyond demonstrating TVA’s commitment to meet the Valley’s ongoing energy needs, this is part of TVA leading the industry in expanding nuclear generation.” Last year, nuclear energy supplied about 40% of TVA’s energy for the seven-state region.
In 2019, TVA was recognized with a TIP award for another EPU-related project. A team of TVA and Barnhart Crane and Rigging employees developed a remote-controlled, low-profile crawler vehicle to transport feedwater heater tube bundles, which weighed 35.5 tons and measured 46 feet in length, inside the plant. The tube bundles were roughly the size of a school bus.
TIP awards are sponsored by the Nuclear Energy Institute and four major nuclear energy companies to showcase new and creative ideas and practices developed by the industry’s talented workforce. NEI’s mission is to promote the use and growth of nuclear energy through efficient operations and effective policy. The awards, currently open to NEI members only, have a direct impact on improving the safety and reliability of nuclear energy.
The Tennessee Valley Authority is a corporate agency of the United States that provides electricity for business customers and local power companies serving nearly 10 million people in parts of seven southeastern states. TVA receives no taxpayer funding, deriving virtually all of its revenues from sales of electricity. In addition to operating and investing its revenues in its electric system, TVA provides flood control, navigation and land management for the Tennessee River system and assists local power companies and state and local governments with economic development and job creation.