US activates first nuclear reactor in two decades

The first nuclear reactor in the US in nearly two decades has been connected to the grid. An initial test is currently being undertaken at Tennessee Valley Authority’s (TVA) Watts […]

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By Priyanka Shrestha

The first nuclear reactor in the US in nearly two decades has been connected to the grid.

An initial test is currently being undertaken at Tennessee Valley Authority’s (TVA) Watts Bar Unit 2, with a team collecting data to ensure the generating equipment is prepared for full operation later this summer.

That will be followed by full-plant testing of systems and controls to increase reactor power levels up to 100% generation.

Once all tests have been completed, the facility will provide up to 1,150MW of electricity.

Combined with Watts Bar Unit 1, roughly 1.3 million properties will be powered.

Joe Grimes, TVA Chief Nuclear Officer said: “This is another major step in fully integrating Watts Bar Unit 2 as the seventh operating unit in TVA’s nuclear fleet. It is rewarding to see TVA taking the lead on delivering the first new nuclear unit of the 21st century and providing safe, affordable and reliable electricity to those we serve.”

In the UK, EDF plans to build two reactors at Hinkley Point in Somerset but it hasn’t made a final investment decision yet.