First new nuclear power plant in U.S. in 20 years goes online

TVA’s Watts Bar Unit 2 Achieves Commercial Operation

watts-bar-nuclear-station

The plant is located on 1,700 acres on the northern end of the Chickamauga Reservoir near Spring City, in East Tennessee. Each unit produces about 1,150 megawatts of electricity—enough to service 650,000 homes—without creating any carbon emissions.

From TVA, Oct 19th, 2016:

SPRING CITY, Tenn. ― The nation’s first new nuclear generation in 20 years has officially entered commercial operation after the Tennessee Valley Authority’s Watts Bar Unit 2 successfully completed an extensive series of power ascension tests and reliably operated at full power for more than three weeks.

“TVA’s mission is to make life better in the Valley by providing reliable, low-cost energy, protecting our area’s natural resources and working to attract business and growth – all priorities simultaneously supported by the completion of Watts Bar Unit 2,” said Bill Johnson, TVA president and CEO.

“Watts Bar Unit 2 is a key part of our commitment to produce cleaner energy without sacrificing the reliability and low cost that draws both industry and residents to our area.”

The $4.7 billion capital construction project was completed on budget. The unit now moves to working asset status.

Watts Bar Unit 2 has already provided consumers across the Valley with more than 500 million kilowatt/hours of carbon-free energy during testing. It now joins six other operating TVA nuclear units to supply more than one third of the region’s generating capacity, and meeting the electric needs of more than 4.5 million homes.

Watts Bar, Sequoyah and Browns Ferry nuclear stations have also contributed to reducing TVA’s carbon emissions by 30 percent since 2005, a reduction that will rise to 60 percent by 2020.

“Nuclear power remains the only source of carbon-free energy that is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week,” said Joe Grimes, TVA executive vice president of generation and chief nuclear officer. “TVA believes that Watts Bar Unit 2, and other nuclear units like it across the Valley and the nation, represents a vital investment in our clean energy future.”

The Tennessee Valley Authority is a corporate agency of the United States that provides electricity for business customers and local power distributors serving more than 9 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.

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153 thoughts on “First new nuclear power plant in U.S. in 20 years goes online

  1. Wow, I thought the greens were in control. Sowell will be along soon to tell us that this plant isn’t economic. Talk about double standard. Windmills are considerably less economic but the anti nuke folks dont consider government and consumer handouts as costs.

    • Yeah, good luck to him on that. Based on the capital cost and power output, it’s $1.59/watt installed. No doubt without all the delays and nonsense it would have been even cheaper. Let’s see wind and solar compete with that.

      • Nail on the head there.When greens complain about the cost of nuclear cf ‘renewables’ they choose to ignore the costs imposed on the nuclear industry by the green delaying tactics.

      • D. J., your number seemed unusually inexpensive to me, so I checked it, using $4.7 billion and 1150 MW. It came out to $4,087/kw, the usual economic comparison units in the power industry, or $4.01/watt, to use your terms. And it was completed “on budget” after the budget was significantly revised upwards due to omissions in the original scope of work on the unfinished plant.

        I am noting this for veracity’s sake, not to denigrate the plant or the achievement.

      • @oeman
        You appear to be correct. Based on the photo caption I assumed there were two new units at 1,150 each. Even then it appears I transposed the “1” and “5” in my calculation. Still, even at that price ($4.09/watt) solar and wind can’t come close. Based on the operating license and current experience this plant can be expected to produce power for 60 years. Based on current experience with wind and solar, you can expect to multiply your initial wind cost by 4x and solar cost by 3x for comparable life cycles.

  2. Won’t they have to buy their fuel from Russia? After all, HRC sold 25% of our uranium to a Russian backed company.

  3. It’s odd how this cheered me up. Reliable power and it’s squeaky green. I think the place needs paint, though, possibly some bright colors? (Semi-serious suggestion!)

    • It probably needs paint because they started building that plant over 35 years ago!

      From wiki: “Unit 2 was 80% complete when construction on both units was stopped in the 1980s”

      • And that is what moved me to tears, GregF. The smiles on those gray-haired managers in the celebration video below are on the faces of men who persevered for over 30 years to accomplish a goal. THAT is something to be proud of!

        Watts Unit 2 – Celebration Video

        (youtube)

        CONGRATULATIONS!

        Oh, boy, do you have something to be proud of.

        PLUS!

        Their license is for FORTY YEARS! :)

        The US Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) has issued a 40-year operating licence to the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) for Watts Bar unit 2. …

        http://www.world-nuclear-news.org/NN-Watts-Bar-2-receives-operating-licence-2210157.html

      • Janice,

        From the film it seems that they still use the initial control room equipment of 30 year ago… somewhat outdated (but I suppose still reliable) but hard to find people still with skills for maintenance of that equipment… Although in some part they show a computer in the control room behind the operators. Maybe some computerized backup?

      • Wow, so it is still an older design. Too bad. I was hoping that we finally
        started to put some of the newer designs out there.

      • Some parts of the controls are computerized. Signals are fed into what is called the SSPS or the solid state protection system. The control rod position indication system and other monitoring indications can also be computerized as well as the some systems in the non-nuclear part of the plant. But you are right, many of the controls are analog. The NRC is still wrestling with failure modes and impacts of solid state controls.

      • Part of the problem with eliminating human control in favor of computer control is that it is far easier to hack a computer controlled switch than a human controlled switch

      • One hopes that all the command and control are still analog and not subject to an Internet connection…

  4. This is GREAT news!

    reliable, low-cost energy

    GO, NUCLEAR POWER!

    (and NOT because reduced CO2 emissions are a meaningful side-effect — for that slimy little marketing ploy, Big Nuke should be ashamed!)

    • One cheer. That is, minus one for “that slimy little marketing ploy”, and minus one for it not being small. A very serious real problem that few acknowledge is the fragility of the long-distance power transmission and large scale, centrally controlled grid required by multi-gigawatt capacity power plants. Small nuke plants on localized distribution grids would greatly reduce this fragility, along with vulnerability to the comparable fragility of distribution networks for combustion fuels.

      • Dav09,

        The problem in this case is safety and operating costs: it is as expensive to operate a small – say 100 MW – nuclear plant as for an 1100 MW construction and safety guarding against terrorist attacks and (continuous) screening of all personnel is as expensive too. Mostly they combine several large units in one place to reduce these costs, but indeed that makes them more vulnerable in case of conflicts as all connections are concentrated in one place too…

      • @Ferdinand Engelbeen October 21, 2016 11:44 pm:

        From the article I linked:

        “Generally, modern small reactors for power generation, and especially SMRs [Small Modular Reactors], are expected to have greater simplicity of design, economy of series production largely in factories, short construction times, and reduced siting costs. Most are also designed for a high level of passive or inherent safety in the event of malfunction. Also many are designed to be emplaced below ground level, giving a high resistance to terrorist threats. A 2010 report by a special committee convened by the American Nuclear Society showed that many safety provisions necessary, or at least prudent, in large reactors are not necessary in the small designs forthcoming.”

      • Dav09 October 21, 2016 at 2:54 pm: “the fragility of the long-distance power transmission and large scale, centrally controlled grid required by multi-gigawatt capacity power plants

        Yet, your lights come on upon demand AND your beer remains cold for serving.

        Small nuke plants on localized distribution grids would greatly reduce this fragility,

        Central Control will still be required, IF ONLY to maintain frequency.

        Your degree and time spent studying is in … horticulture?

      • @ _Jim October 22, 2016 at 9:31 am:

        “Central Control will still be required, IF ONLY to maintain frequency.”
        Even if I weren’t a degreed EE with power industry experience, and as such know this statement proves you are so ignorant that you can’t comprehend how ignorant it is, I could still point out that you don’t even understand simple English – ‘fragility’ does NOT mean ‘it doesn’t work’.

    • Janice,

      Again, love your comments, but have to respectfully disagree with one point. If it weren’t for Big Green and Big Government, Big Nuke wouldn’t need that “slimy little marketing ploy.” It’s BGr and BGo that should be ashamed. and it’s the citizens that are affected by this stupidity that should be up in arms.

    • Reduced emissions are a meaningful side effect. Soot, CO, NOx, and VOCs are all produced by combustion engines. Yes tack-on devices can improve these, but they cannot eliminate them. For a nuclear plant, once it’s constructed, the emissions per kwh are much much lower.

    • It is a great first step. I share the joy, but as an engineer I know this POTUS could have resolved all kinds of issues by spending the money he distributed to his CRAPITALISM BUDS and their PIPE DREAM FIASCOS, by spending those funds on building a fleet of NUCLEAR POWER PLANTS. The injection of capital in the design, materials and construction of 100 plants and the GDP and labor employment would have lifted this country out of the Great Recession with affordable energy, the lifeblood of an Nation. Instead Mr. Obama has saddled us and our children with the Saul Alinski-type debt which will force our inevitable BANKRUPTCY AND DEMISE. Which was what O”BUMMER intended.

      • Amen, Carbon BIgfoot.

        Also note that TVA’s debt level has been over 20 billion dollars for several years, so it does not run on a balanced budget. (Law prevents TVA from borrowing more than 30 billion.)

  5. All in the name of “carbon-free energy”…How stupid. It’s a bit convenient that as soon we became able to scrub nearly everything except carbon dioxide out of coal-fired emissions, carbon dioxide became a “pollutant.” This based on the idea of “carbon free” energy. Skeptics should not be pleased about this.

    • Listen, Designator-who-can’t-read-very-well —

      You are greatly mistaken. That marketing ploy IS shameful. It is not, however, BY ANY STRETCH OF THE IMAGINATION, what motivated those men and women to keep on trying for 30 years to get that plant built.

      All in the name of “carbon-free energy”RELIABLE, CHEAP, SAFE, ENERGY to keep America prosperous and free.

      • And one more thing, I wonder just how shameful that marketing ploy really is, given the horrific regulatory nightmare thrust upon the nuclear power industry by the likes of Harry Reid. What would YOU have done to get that operating license past the Holy Cult of AGW, so deeply entrenched in Wash., D.C.?

      • Janice, these damned thread jumps get my comments out of order. Rest assured that you are not the only one lionizing the work of real heroes in improving and extending the lives of all humans. Any fool can stop progress.

      • I can understand Designator’s point – the marketing blurb about “carbon-free energy” helps perpetuate the CAGW meme. It’s political expediency and should be unnecessary now that the plant is operating – I can understand the marketing for the construction period to minimise NRC and other regulatory rubbish.

        That said, I also applaud those who completed this plant which will provide RELIABLE, CHEAP, SAFE AND CLEAN ENERGY. And by clean, I mean free of the ash and acidic flue scrubber waste. Best of all, the plant frees up fossil fuels for better uses than electricity generation.

    • Designator – I agree with you. It hurts to read the marketing tosh about “carbon-free”, and how it rams home just how far the greens have managed to get with their toxic nonsense. However, getting a new nuclear plant up IS an achievement, and there is at least one positive even in the marketing tosh: it plants firmly in people’s minds that nuclear power is an effective way to reduce the carbon emissions that the green left are pushing for, and from there it is a very short step indeed to the understanding that windmills and solar power stations, with all their high costs, vagaries and grid disruptions, are ridiculously undesirable. [I say “ridiculously” because ridicule is what they deserve].

      • Nuclear power is feeding off the global warming hype. You all know damn well it’s bullshit. Carbon-free, my ass!

    • Janice,

      Should have read further before i commented. And as pointed out (now that I did read further), I don’t know where this will pop up. :>)

  6. Good. We need nuclear energy. But we also need coal, and coal is being disadvantaged under the current anti-coal administration. That needs to change.

  7. It’s worth mentioning the Georgia has a couple nuclear plants under construction as well:

    https://www.georgiapower.com/about-energy/energy-sources/nuclear/overview.cshtml

    Remember the big problem with Fukushima was that after the tidal wave hit, they had no power and the diesel generators wouldn’t run. Thus they had no way to power the pumps that cooled the reactor.

    Now governments want nuclear plants that can handle a total power failure of both the incoming power and the internal backup power. The new reactors in Georgia do that:

    ===
    Plant Vogtle units 3 and 4 will be the first in the industry to use the Westinghouse AP1000 advanced pressurized water reactor technology. This advanced technology allows nuclear cores to be cooled even in the absence of operator interventions or mechanical assistance. The AP1000 is the safest and most economical nuclear power plant available in the worldwide commercial marketplace, and is the only Generation III+ reactor to receive Design Certification from the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC).

    In the event of an emergency, new nuclear systems rely more heavily on forces like gravity and natural heat convection and less on pumps, valves, diesel generators and operator actions. New nuclear plants are designed to effectively and safely shutdown using the natural forces of gravity, natural circulation and compressed gases to keep the core and containment from overheating.

    The AP1000’s simplified plant design results in a plant that is easier and less expensive to to build, operate and maintain. The plant’s design has:

    50 percent fewer valves
    35 percent fewer pumps
    80 percent less piping
    45 percent less building volume
    70 percent less cable
    than earlier-generation nuclear plants. The modular design also allows for faster construction.
    ===

    • I like the simplification used for the AP1000 design, too. These first builds are having some issues being first of type but they aren’t bogged down like the enormously complex EPR by EDF builds in Finland and France.

      The first nuclear operators for Vogtle 3 and 4 have passed their initial NRC licensing examination for operation in 2019 and 2020 respectively. There are also 2 being built at VC Summer in SC.
      http://www.world-nuclear-news.org/NN-First-Vogtle-operators-licensed-1810167.html

      But China will have their first 2 coming online at Haiyung and Sanmen before the end of this year and another 2 next year plus 6 more being planned for Xudabao. The US and UK need to get cracking with replacements for some of their ageing fleet and the AP1000 seems the best bet while the MSRs get commercialised.

  8. This is only the first of the newly constructed nuclear plants to go operational. Vogtle 3 and 4 (Georgia) and VC Summer 2 and 3 (South Carolina) , all Westinghouse AP1000 Gen 3 units, are due to be connected to the grid in the 2019 and 2020 time frame. Delays have been due to the fact that American companies that make nuclear components basically all died off, after nuclear plant building came to a halt 30 years ago.
    It would have made more economic sense for the units to have been bought from Russia or China.
    China can build a duplicate of the AP1000 plant, which they ingeniously have named the CAP 1000
    plant, the “C” standing for China, I believe. The Watts Bar II unit was actually the completion (and update) of a Westinghouse nuclear plant that was halted while under construction ,many years ago, mostly due to
    reduced demand for power. I’m not sure how it compares to a Gen3 AP1000 plant, which is almost
    walkaway safe – water stored above the reactor can continue to cool the plant for several days without any need for electricity to do so nor any need for human intervention. WE now have two locations where all the equipment that would be needed to assist a nuclear plant in trouble can be airlifted within hours to any U.S. plant. All one has to do for an AP1000 plant that is inoperative, is to replenish the water in the tank above the reactor, using a garden hose, etc. and the plant will remain in stable condition indefinitely. Meltdowns are well-nigh impossible for any Gen 3 plant, including the AP1000. The plants have an expected lifespan of over 60 years. Amortizing construction costs over that long a period of time amounts to small amount
    per kWhr. It will operate likely at 100% capacity while operation, but average, less due to refueling shutdowns every 18 months or so. Most achieve 90% + average capacities.

    • Many industries are not comfortable buying materials like Stainless steel and Nickel alloys for elevated temperature from China. I would discourage buying the entire Nuclear plant from China or Russia. It is true that the capability of manufacturing large heavy wall vessels in the US is difficult (maybe impossible). All the facilities I visited years ago have shut down. Today such vessels come from Korea, India, and Japan although even Japan have a difficult time competing

      • When I was a pup there were laws that ensured that military equipment would have necessary parts in face of an enemy attack. One rule was that each component had to have two suppliers on American soil.

        As far as I can tell, such laws no longer exist. Our politicians, in their infinite wisdom, decided to cede our manufacturing to third world countries. National security went down the drain.

        The country needs a national manufacturing strategy. link We have a big enough economy to be self-sufficient in everything. China is starting to flex its muscles and it is beyond stupid that we depend on it for so much of our manufacturing.

  9. Glad to see this!!! I worked in that industry from 1985 to 1994 doing outage work as an Engineer for Babcock & Wilcox. All that means is I was a “Nuclear Grade Road Whore”! Money was good but I got tired of the travel. You can’t make a motel room a home no matter how hard you try!!

    Interesting work though and I did enjoy that part of it!

    Hope this is just the first of MANY!

    • the word was “wh_0re” — (a wordpress “bad” word) that is why your comment didn’t appear

  10. This is good news, especially considering the cost relative to renewables

    “Tennessee Valley Authority has some of the lowest electric rates in the country. Sixty-nine percent of customers of the top 100 utilities in the United States pay more for electricity than we do. Right now, our retail rate for electricity is about 9 cents per kilowatt hour.”

  11. For me, knowing little of the TVA apart from it being born in the depths of the Depression , the most interesting part of the post was the final section about the TVA .
    When I checked on Wiki I was amazed by some of the information .
    Just look at this extract :

    “Even by Depression standards, the Tennessee Valley was economically dismal in 1933. Thirty percent of the population was affected by malaria, and the average income was only $639 per year, with some families surviving on as little as $100 per year. Much of the land had been farmed too hard for too long, eroding and depleting the soil. Crop yields had fallen along with farm incomes. The best timber had been cut, with another 10% of forests being burnt each year.[7]
    TVA was designed to modernize the region, using experts and electricity to combat human and economic problems.[8] TVA developed fertilizers, taught farmers ways to improve crop yields and helped replant forests, control forest fires, and improve habitat for fish and wildlife. The most dramatic change in Valley life came from TVA-generated electricity. Electric lights and modern home appliances made life easier and farms more productive. Electricity also drew industries into the region, providing desperately needed jobs.”

    Now is that description of the Tennessee Valley in 1930s not an almost exact description of parts of Africa and Latin America today . Surely the TVA is a model , almost a blueprint , of what could be done to help the people of those regions today.

    • Well they certainly make it sound like FDR and the feds rode to the rescue. What they left out was the serious displacement of whole communities when they flooded valleys to create their reservoirs. Google “Old Butler, TN”. In more rural areas they displaced large numbers of farmers from fertile, bottomland farms. Among them my grandfather who was working a farm on the forks of the Clinch and Powell Rivers, a farm that came to him from an ancestor who had received it as a Revolutionary War land grant. I still have a few pages of my grandmother’s diary where she recounts their struggle to move and build a new home. Poverty, not hardly. He was a prosperous farmer and owned a fine brace of mules and an automobile. Just ignorant country folks. Not hardly. My grandmother was an educator and eventually was principal of a local school. I won’t argue that TVA did a lot of good….after all I’m using their electrons as I type this. But it came at a profound social cost for many of the Tennessee Valley’s residents. There was also a profound ecological impact as well.

      • True. Same happened in the PNW with the Bonneville Power Authority, and continues today.

        Then even more were displaced by the Hanford Reservation. Like Oak Ridge and the TVA, BPA power helped realize the Manhattan Project, U at Oak Ridge and Pu at Hanford.

        Cheap electricity from Columbia River system dams was first soaked up by aluminum smelters (helping the WWII and post-war aircraft industries), but now goes to power the server farms of Google, Apple, etc.

      • Chimp, JustAnOldGuy, do you realize what miserable downers you sound like? The Bonneville Power Administration and Tennessee Valley Authority improved, even saved, the lives of millions of people. They both bolstered our nation’s defense. Go cry crocodile tears elsewhere.

        Also, Chimp, you really don’t know any thing meaningfull about the BPA, do you?

      • I am glad you said that. There is a not so obvious story here that has often been overlooked. I don’t know the whole truth but after having visited some of these areas, it is clear it wasn’t all good. I am reminded of a grave yard we visited with a road that led to the lake shore. Obvious to us was the fact that a church lay at the bottom of the lake. There were communities of people whose life and culture was disposable in the eyes of the government. I don’t think we should be comfortable with that kind of thinking.

      • Ah, yes, Steve, the wonderful life of plowing the tobacco fields with mules from dawn to dusk, dying young. High infant mortality? Just an inconvenience.

        Buying them out so they can relocate to town, get a good job and have an education for their children is such a cruel type of government thinking. Is the bucolic life the only one for thee? Gentleman farmer, are we?

    • My family was moved out of the way for Norris dam in the 30’s. Many families were also displaced by GSMNP and the manhattan project. Some families had to move twice!

      I am an NPS volunteer in oak ridge and we get a lot of questions about living here before and during the war.

      • OMG! People were displaced to further economic development and national defense. Oh, the humanity!

  12. I see a problem with the photos. They were not shot under conditions that give the appearance that they are belching black smoke which is typical of the way in which most plumes of steam from power plant cooling units are depicted. A PR failure by the green publicists, no doubt.

  13. I did a Google search on “”VA’s Watts Bar Unit 2 ” to check what the main stream media had to say about it.

    Do you know, the nearest to a media release was the the WNN The World Nuclear News.

    All the usual news outlets have ignored this news it seems.

    Interesting

    I wonder what the significance of this is.

    Cheers

    Roger

    http://www.rogerfromnewzealand.wordpress.com

    • It means Google, and the other enviroprofiteer climate hu$ler$
      (who control the bulk of the mainstream media — that is the main reason the media keeps on pushing the failed Democrat brand)

      want their Ivanpah
      (and other hideously inefficient, both in energy production and in ROI, solar and wind projects AND their disaster insurance policies sold on the premise of out of control human CO2!!!!)

      to keep being given tax/rate surcharge break-even funds.

      • That is the obvious clue that these climate wars are not about the purported warming effect of CO2. If they were then nuclear power plants would be being built by the hundreds. No this is about the failed liberal/left assault on western values in general and the productive males in particular.

        It makes me want to puke but the old legacy media is pushing this for all it’s worth and the winners are useless while the losers are the very folk who designed, built and maintain the very infrastructure we need to operate as a developed nation. Grrrr!

      • I used TVA as well. My use of “VA” was a typo.

        However Duckduckgo didn’t show very much for me either. Ít appears that none of the large news outlets are running this story.

        Sounds more like other “enviroprofiteer climate hu$ler$ who control the bulk of the mainstream media”
        do not see fit to run this important story.

        Says a lot I think.

        Cheers

        Roger

        http://www.thedemiseofchristchurch.com

    • Watts Bar in Siskiyou County is at least a 6 hour drive to Chico…more if you want to stay on paved roads. Hardly nearby.

  14. Well, this will be my LAST post on this site. Seems somebody doesn’t have a sense of humor, that or I’m just not wanted here as my posts get deleted every time I make one??

    Take your site and shove it! I’ll get my news elsewhere from now on!

    • Just in case you see this, Gunman, it may be that you are using words that WordPress has designated as “bad.” For instance, sc@m and p0rn0gr@phy and I think hu$tler$ is one (and there are lots more I’ve forgotten or do not know). If you spell correctly, in full, “m0derrrat0r” — you will be in auto-moderation. Also, putting too many links per comment or sometimes, a link to some site the software around here thinks is a bad one, will make you hit the sp@m (another bad word, I think) bin.

      Do try again. I have a feeling it is nothing personal.

      Hoping you stay!

      Janice

      • btw: I had a harmless photo deleted recently just because the mod did not have the same sense of humor I have. It was embarrassing and a little hurtful, but I AM STILL HERE. Do reconsider, Gunman.

      • I fully agree with Janice. If a poster is a problem, that poster gets warned. If you got censored, it was probably the fault of wordpress.

        Your voice is useful and welcome.

      • If anyone reading this comment is on Facebook (I am not and never plan to be), clicking on Lone Gunman’s name will take you to his Facebook page (I think — I couldn’t get in, not being an FB user). If you would be so kind, please tell him that it was the word I talk about here: https://wattsupwiththat.com/2016/10/21/first-new-nuclear-power-plant-in-u-s-in-20-years-goes-online/comment-page-1/#comment-2324124

        in my comment just below his that got him into the sp@m bin.

        And encourage him to come back!

        (I know how hurt I have felt re: WUWT at times — sure hope he can have his hurt relieved, soon!)

        Thanks!

        Janice

      • So WordPress automatically deletes posts containing “naughty” words without human intervention to assess their validity? Not clever.

  15. Watts Bar is not new construction. Construction began in 1973. Watts Bar Unit 2 was 80% complete when construction on both units was stopped in the 1980s due in part to a projected decrease in power demand. It is the first new reactor to enter service in the United States after a 20 year hiatus. Both units are Westinghouse pressurized water reactors (PWRs).

  16. Glad to see the unit 2 reactor go to commercial operation. So very sad that it has taken almost a half century to complete this 2 unit power station. For all the talk of cost overrun, how many billion$ was due to the green (nee environmental no-nukes) groups piling on regulation and litigation over and over and over and over and over and over and over…

  17. http://enenews.com/
    Look back through the posts since Fukushima-Daiichi melted down 3 cores in 2011. Explain away the horrible radiation to the Japanese children dying of thyroid cancers. What nonsense.
    go to images.google.com and put in ‘Chernobyl Children’. Explain nuclear power to the kids born with their brains in a sack behind their skull or extra limbs growing out of their chests.

    • To: Larry Butler

      1.

      There was no Fukushima nuclear disaster. Total number of people killed by nuclear radiation at Fukushima was zero. Total injured by radiation was zero.

      (Source: http://www.cfact.org/2013/10/12/physicist-there-was-no-fukushima-nuclear-disaster/ )

      You explain (provide cites to reliable sources) how “Japanese children dying of thyroid cancers” (and is this even happening to a significant degree at all) was caused by the Fukushima shut-down.

      2. Re: Chernobyl

      You explain (provide evidence/data or no one will take you seriously) how a nuclear plant built in the United States could cause injuries like those caused by a nuclear plant of the type and build/operation standards of the one at Chernobyl.

      So far, you are only proving that to support nuclear power is rational
      and to not do so is irrational.

    • LB, data please. Very reputable sources say NOBODY has died from Fukushima Daiichi radiation. Some have of stresses from the apparently excessive relocation response. Then verify the google images from Chernobyl you recommend; you do know about Photoshop and the easy ability to misattribute images on the web, don’t you. Ever consider the possibilitynthose are antinuclear informercial equivalents?

      • There was tsunami disaster and nuclear complex luck at Fukushima. Lucky was with the complex. Grateful was the parent who took his child to work that fateful day – upon coming home they found likely nobody and nothing.

        The only radiation exposure inside the complex was equivalent to the radiation millions of sun-seeker experience routinely on a weekend. The four workers with the radioactive exposure via their wellingtons were treated in a hospital as those sun worshipers routinely are, and discharged promptly.

      • Fukushima actually showed the safety of nuclear power. Massive quake and tsunami, cascade failure of 3 reactors begun by a reactor that was 3 weeks away from final shutdown for decommissioning when the quake struck, nobody killed, nobody injured, nobody sickened. More people die in wind turbine accidents every year than died at Fukushima.

    • There was an initial uptick in cancer discovery after the event but that was attributed to more thorough screening. There has not been any uptick in deaths from thyroid cancer. A combination of increased screening and use of more sensitive screening methods mean that more cancers are detected. South Korea noticed a 15x increase in discovered thyroid cancers when they instituted a more modern screening program. Also, using the same screening method as is used in Fukushima prefecture, the rates of thyroid cancer are the same everywhere in Japan. There is no greater incidence in Fukushima than in any other area in Japan.

      WHO said that the greatest risk of health from Fukushima is going to be stress from sensationalized reporting.

      Reference: https://www.sciencebasedmedicine.org/confusing-overdiagnosis-for-an-epidemic-of-thyroid-cancer-in-japan-after-fukushima/

  18. “The $4.7 billion capital construction project was completed on budget. The unit now moves to working asset status.”

    This statement has to be a joke! This plant began construction in the early 1970’s and two generations of workers retired there before it was finally commissioned. The record of cost overruns on Watts Bar Unit # 2 is legendary!

  19. Not enough gold stars, this is great news.
    Now build as fast as we can 100 more of the best available reactors and re-start our steel industry and the literally hundreds of thousand of related jobs in the support industries. Make it a “war time” type effort ( hey maybe even get Hollywood to do the clips like they did during WWII That would be fun to watch :). JM as always great to read your comments especially to one about “gun” you are right if he’d clean up his language there’d be no problem.

    • Asybot,

      Thank you. You are very generous and kind to say so.

      Just a bit of clarification re: Gun — I do not condemn Gun’s use of language above. I only meant to inform him of the wordpress “bad” word policy. I thought that his use of “wh_0re” was appropriate. I’m just trying to help him come back! And I sure wish someone on Facebook would tell him what I wrote above!

      LOVE the idea about the newsreel-style movies to inform the public about the FACTS about nuclear power (and other industries).

      Janice

  20. Watts Bar has been under construction for the last three decades. When I was in Boy Scouts I got to visit the plant and see the reactor pool and everything. People who are afraid of meltdowns are dumb. Even as a kid I could see the fortress-like way the thing was constructed.

    I don’t know which unit I visited, but I hope it wasn’t Unit 2. That would seriously make me doubt that “on budget” line.

    • No, not really. Construction was suspended and the plant mothballed since the 1980’s. Construction was only re-started relatively recently.

  21. This is for charlieskeptic. I’m not crying crocodile tears. What I was saying was that the other side of the progress-people equation should be noted. That’s the same equation that people are using to justify a number of ideas that will have a serious impact on our environment and our society. If progress is your only criteria you’re likely to impact lives in a way that is often detrimental and those impacts need to be acknowledged not swept under the rug of “look how wonderful our idea was”. Even TVA realized late last century that their actions had impacted the Tennessee River Valley and the Tennessee River tributaries in a negative way and instituted a number of programs seeking to correct the environmental damage. The cost of this project was not just federal dollars and that cost needs an accounting too.

    • JustAnOldGuy, your “the other side of the progress-people equation” has been pounded on for decades, so it has been and is being noted. It is now generally used in attempts to stop any progress. An 80% complete pipeline through the Dakotas, anyone?

      Would you rather we not have moved 98% of the people from farms? Your nostalgia is all well and good, but it makes for poor public policy.

  22. This is the energy equivalent of more than 7,000 wind turbines (assuming 15% average capacity of the turbines).

    $6M times 7,000 turbines equals $42 billion capital cost (versus this plant at the stated $4.7 billion).

    Then there is the lifetime comparison. The $4.7 billion investment lifetime is about 50 years whereas the $42 billion investment lifetime is 10 to 20 years.

    MATH doesn’t lie. That is why we use it (and the greens don’t).

    • Yes and don’t forget all the birds that are saved by this plant versus equivalent wind turbine bird choppers.

    • wind turbines —
      What part fails in 10 years or 20 years?
      Can certain parts be replaced? I just had to replace a car battery after 8 years.
      Don’t take this the wrong way. I am not a fan of wind turbines. Most things need duct tape or 3-in-one oil, or both, to keep operating.
      The wind turbines near me [Wild Horse Wind Farm] sit on a high tower and a massive concrete pad. Such an investment surely is not based on a 10 year life. In fact, this one’s first towers were completed in December 2006.

    • Wind turbines have a designed lifetime of 20 years but most don’t make it that long and are simply shutdown.

      They are subject to many stresses, metal fatigue, rust, many moving parts, even the blades suffer erosion and become too rough to operate efficiently enough. Then, they catch on fire, get hit by killer lightening strike, concrete pad shifts off-centre or erodes and that’s it.

      Turning a horizontal wind into energy requires everything to work just right and be lined up just right and for every part to be at optimum condition. 20 yars is too much to ask for all that.

  23. Is there any truth in the rumour that this power plant was required to meet the demand from the Gore mansion in Tennessee?

    • That rumor is false; there were no changes to the plant design, but the route of one of the high voltage power lines, and specific substation location, was altered to be able to better serve the mansions’ demand and Gores’ needs;)

  24. Four more plants are currently under construction, two in Georgia (Vogtle units 3 and 4) and two in South Carolina (Summer units 2 and 3) . All of them are Westinghouse AP1000 PWR plants. The southeastern US is due for a lot of cheap abundant power soon.

  25. The subtitle under the picture brings up two questions:
    a) 1150 megawatts of electricity is a dreadful phrase (electricity is measured in joules). It should be “electricity output of 1150 MW.” The electricity needs to be specified in this case as there is potentially also heat output from thermo-plants. Heat amounts to twice the electricity figure theoretically, but in reality only about 1000 MW can be deliverable to surrounding communities for heating/cooling. Notice that this useful “waste” energy is not available with most renewables.
    b) The other problem lies with the “650 000 homes serviced.” Assuming CF = 90 %, the net 1000 MW would be delivering 1500 kW/home. Does not sound right. Where would this home be geographically located? And would it be all electric or mixed with gas, or oil, in addition?

    • Jake,
      On this Blog we must use the Watts term for the electricity unit of Power in honor of Anthony Watts who is a likely descendant of the Scottish Watt(s) for his contributions to the steam engine.
      Usage of electricity on my bill is in KWH not Joules, my light bulbs and all my appliances are rated in watts. Fortunately some of us do not live in a UN/EURO science imposed SI system, although I remember many years ago some bureaucrats in Washington were insisting we must convert to SI, it never happened and all the bad impact claims on the economy never happened either. On the other hand the company I worked for did rewrite all the standards in dual units which was good since we did business in a lot of countries and I have worked in a number of different systems including the old metric system.

      Not sure I understand some your comments, for example Mega prefix is well defined in the scientific world, were you suggesting otherwise? See below.

      Prefix (Symbol) Power Numeric Representation
      yotta (Y) 1024 1 septillion
      zetta (Z) 1021 1 sextillion
      exa (E) 1018 1 quintillion
      peta (P) 1015 1 quadrillion
      tera (T) 1012 1 trillion
      giga (G) 109 1 billion
      mega (M) 106 1 million
      kilo (k) 103 1 thousand
      no prefix 100 1 unit

      On the other hand M often has a different Meaning in the financial world, so there can be confusion in reading some articles.

      • For your education,
        the watt is a unit of power (of ANY energy flow) not the Watt. On the other hand, Watt was James as is our honorable Anthony. Your bill is not in KWH but in kWh (check it), which is metric, well defined and accepted in the remnants of the US medieval system. And yes, it is incorrect to say “1150 megawatts of electricity” a junior high subject to distinguish. The joule would be less like to be so associated.

        There is no prefix Mega. Only mega, symbol M. It has been about for a century thus I doubt it needed explanation among people conversant in the energy/power field.

    • re: jake October 21, 2016 at 6:50 pm: “1500 kW/home”

      Those are VOA (Voice of America, at onetime a shortwave broadcaster) power levels; I’m limited to 1500 Watts of RF output power by our Federal Communications Commission.

      I range between 1,000 kWH to 1500 kWH *usage* per month. Maybe you were shooting for that figure in your above cited figure?

      A home in winter with electric heat will, at peak consumption, show (or ‘burn’) 10,000 to 20,000 Watts during a ‘heat’ cycle. That equates to roughly 100,000 homes for a 1150 MWe plant, BUT, not all homes call for *heat* at the same time, so this figure of ‘homes served’ can be 3 to 8 times that figure easily.

      So, 650,000 homes served is not an extraordinary figure.

      • An all-electric, U.S. home averages 5 kW to 15 kW and more, depending on geographical location, size, and the number of teenagers residing. In a home where gas or oil is used for space and water heating, and therefore electricity powers only appliances such as lights, TV, A/C, etc., the el. consumption is 1.4 kW for the average U.S. home according to EPA. Utilities in the Northeast claim 1.0 kW for that region.

        There are exaggerated claims in contractor brochures such as: “…we will install a 1 MW system, sufficient to power 1000 homes.” Is anyone checking? Consumer Protection?

  26. Just in case you’re interested in nuclear power plants TVA is selling one. https://www.tva.gov/Newsroom/Bellefonte
    Amaze your friends, relatives and neighbors! Be the first on your block to split atoms and astound all your friends. Bids start at $36.4 million – a small price to pay for your very own nuclear power plant.
    I hope this will meet with the moderator’s approval. I have no commercial interest in the sale of this facility nor any remuneration for posting this link. It just seemed to fit into the thread.

  27. Another benefit of is that it will extend the life of fossil fuels, including coal, that we will eventually need.

    John Hansen of NASA should be happy too.

    • Several operators have expressed interest in buying and completing the plant. Also, initial site work has been completed for a new plant in SW Georgia, too.

  28. Leftist Eco-wackos have significantly contributed to the destruction of the US economy.

    US rules & regulation compliance costs are $2 TRILLION/yr, which is close to the ENTIRE GDP of India, a land of 1.2 billion souls…

    The NRC/EPA bureaucratic monstrositIes and all the direct and indirect costs and delays they inflict on private-sector nuclear energy companies, effectively prohibit nuclear power from ever becoming competitive, and severely restrict the development of new nuclear power technologies.

    The quickest way to destroy an industry is to make it unprofitable, which the NRC & EPA have done to the nuclear industry. Wind & solar companies don’t have to worry about profitability because they get HUGE government subsidies to offset their inherent losses….

    China’s first test LFTR goes online in a few years and a viable commercial reactor design will soon follow… They’ll eventually implement a modular LFTR plant design, capable of being constructed in 20 WEEKS, while it takes the US 20 YEARS to build an outdated Light Water Reactor…

    Leftists have destroyed the US.

    • Right wing nut jobs have caused the wars that are so cheap and cost effective. More than half the budget gets spent on the military and we have about 1000 bases around the world, far more military spending than about then next ten nations combined and still the right bemoans how much we spend on the environment.

      Lest you think this left is all upset about nuclear power, you are dead wrong. I started posting about Liquid Fluoride Thorium Reactors on this board before anyone else. I am just sick of us blowing up the planet.

      • I agree that the US needs to stop being the policeman of the world and needs to shutdown most of the 700 overseas bases, and that each country should be responsible for its own national security.

        All of the world’s wars were STARTED by Leftists and the US helped defeat the Leftist tyrants and Theocratic despots.

        US Defense Department’s budget last year was $586 billion or 16% of TOTAL federal spending, or about 3% of US GDP. Your silly comment that Defense spending amounts to “half the budget” was nonsense… I’d like see the defense budget cut to 2.5% of GDP.

        Leftist Social Security, Medicaid/care and other federal welfare programs is what devours 50%+ of total federal spending, and already has $100+ TRILLION in unfunded liabilities…. All these federal programs are unconstitutional, regardless of what past SCOTUS decisions may have been.

        Moreover, excessive Lefist rules and regulations inflict $2 TRILLION/yr in compliance costs, which is almost 4 TIMES the cost of defense spending.

        We have $20 TRILLION in national debt and it’s growing by $1 TRILLION/year.

        Leftists have destroyed the US.

  29. Time for a celebratory drink at Moe’s with Safety Inspector Homer and a chaser of hot salty greenie tears.

  30. “The $4.7 billion capital construction project was completed on budget.”
    Kudos to the project management. That is no small accomplishment.

  31. It is interesting to compare the capitol cost of this new Nuclear Plant with a recently built solar plant, Crescent Dunes CSP.
    The Nuclear plant cost 4.7 Billion while the Solar plant cost 1 Billion to build.
    The Nuclear plant provides 10 times the Power at 1150 Megawatts than the Solar plant at 110 Megawatts.
    So the cost of the solar plant per capacity is approximately double.
    Others can better consider the relative cost of fuel, taxes, land, killed birds, and Maintenance but it seems obvious which can provide the lowest cost electricity delivered. Both emit minimal CO 2 to the atmosphere.

    https://dddusmma.wordpress.com/2016/10/21/new-concentrating-solar-power-plant/#comments

    “The new, 110 MW, Crescent Dunes CSP plant heats molten salt to a very high temperature. The heated salt is then passed through a heat exchanger to produce steam. Importantly, the salt stores heat for use any time during the day or night.”

    “The Crescent Dunes CSP plant cost just under $1 billion, or $10,000 per KW, which is approximately 10 times the cost of an NGCC plant at $1,100 per KW.”

    • The largest Concentrating Solar Power (CSP) has been a 18 $/W investment. An 880 MW Nuclear Plant (NP) operating since 1975, cost 2.4 $/W adjusted for inflation to today. The average wattage produced per employee is 15 times lower at the CSP then at the NP.

    • Careful there. You’re using nameplate (peak) output in your calculation of capital cost per Kw. Cresent Dunes is much worse than 10 times as expensive as an NGCC plant when you use “average” Kw output. If you accept Cresent Dune’s claims of a 57% capacity factor (I do not – I think they’ll be lucky to average 40%) and compare that with the routinely achieved 90% capacity factor of a base-loaded NGCC plant, you’ll find Cresent Dunes is over 14 times as expensive. Use the capacity factor I suspect Cresent Dunes to achieve and the capital cost is 22 times as expensive.

      • No, I am not. I am using the actual average output as stated in Wiki. I am also not referring to Crescent Dunes, but another CSP, a straight thru one, the largest in the US.
        There are misleading data concerning CFs all over the place, I agree with you. Most of them hide the amount of electric and heat energy needed during nights, maintenance, no-wind period, etc. in electricity, natural gas, diesel and gasoline. Note also above the operation cost difference: 15 times (not percent!) higher then at NP.

    • Thanks, for your comment, I was only comparing information available to me at the time, which clearly showed Crescent Dunes is a much more expensive capital expense that the specific Nuclear plant. Crescent Dunes is a molten salt plant which still generates electricity after the sun goes down. I appreciate your addition as I did not have any information available on the capacity factor, which is not likely as high as claimed.

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