This past weekend, licensed reactor operators at the Tennessee Valley Authority safely connected a new source of nuclear power to its electric system. It is an historic moment for the nuclear industry because it is the first new U.S. nuclear generation of the 21st century. Marilyn Brown, the Brook Byers Professor of Sustainable Systems in the School of Public Policy at the Georgia Institute of Technology, chairs the TVA Nuclear Oversight Committee. She explains the importance of this achievement.
A new source of nuclear power is coming from the Tennessee Valley Authority Watts Bar reactor Unit 2, which is located 50 miles north of Chattanooga, Tenn. When the reactors safely connected to the electric system this weekend, nuclear-powered electricity from the new unit was delivered for the first time to TVA customers. These customers are families, businesses and industries across seven states, including a portion of northern Georgia.
This is a significant achievement as we all work to identify least-cost clean power pathways that will lower household electricity bills and reduce pollution. Nuclear energy provides one of the major opportunities for reducing greenhouse gas emissions since it is essentially a carbon-free resource (as are wind power, solar power, and energy efficiency).Nuclear power has provided some of the least-cost electricity in the TVA system.
When fully operational, Watts Bar Unit 2 will generate approximately the same amount of electricity as reactor Units 1 and 2 at Georgia's Plant Vogtle located near Waynesboro, Georgia, where two more reactors are under construction.
This weekend a big step was taken toward cleaner power systems in the Southeast.