TVA: Watts Bar 2 on Schedule, on Budget

he first quarterly update from the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) reporting construction progress of the Watts Bar Unit 2 nuclear reactor suggests that the project is on track for completion between September and December of 2015 and is within its budgeted cost range of $4 billion to $4.5 billion.

The report is the first in a series expected every quarter, a measure initiated after the federally owned corporation’s board of directors this April approved a revised completion schedule for the reactor. A controversial construction review undertaken by the TVA had then revealed that, owing to mismanagement and faulty execution, the project would cost nearly double the $2.49 billion price estimated in 2007 and take much longer than the projected 60-month completion timeframe.

The TVA decided to complete work on Watts Bar 2 in 2007—continuing work stopped in 1985 when the reactor was considered about 80% complete—and plans had called for the reactor, the first new U.S. commercial reactor of the 21st century, to come online this year. A Detailed Scoping, Estimating and Planning (DSEP) study conducted in 2007 found Watts Bar 2 to be effectively 60% complete, because parts had been salvaged for use at Watts Bar 1 or at the TVA’s Sequoyah nuclear plant. The Watts Bar 2 project is currently considered about 70% complete.

“When the TVA board of directors approved the revised Watts Bar Unit 2 completion schedule, Nuclear Construction committed to providing quarterly progress updates,” said Mike Skaggs, TVA senior vice president for Nuclear Construction in a statement on Friday. “This was done to maintain the integrity of the estimate and transparency about our performance and how we are taking care of unfinished business at Watts Bar Unit 2.”

According to the new update, the TVA has focused on improving construction efficiency by implementing lessons learned as well as improvement initiatives. Results included strong safety performance, with the project exceeding 15.3 million work-hours without a lost time accident, and an overall acceptance rate of quality control inspections consistently tracking above 95%.

As construction progresses, Skaggs said the Watts Bar site will focus on integrating the operations of the new Unit 2 with the existing Unit 1 to fulfill the facility’s original design at a two-unit station.

Sources: POWERnews, TVA

—Sonal Patel, Senior Writer (@POWERmagazine)

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