TVA: Watts Bar 2 Facing “Challenges with Schedule and Costs”

In a recent regulatory filing, the Tennessee Valley Authority warned that completion of its Watts Bar 2 project will likely be pushed into 2013 and cost more than expected.

Watts Bar nuclear plant. Source: TVABlaming lower productivity and likely regulatory changes in the wake of the Fukushima Daiichi accidents, TVA wrote to the Securities and Exchange commission: “The project’s schedule and cost estimates are currently under assessment and will be revised. The revised completion date for Watts Bar Unit 2 may extend past calendar year 2013, rather than being in the last quarter of calendar year 2012 as had been previously scheduled, and project costs are expected to significantly exceed the previous estimate of $2.5 billion.”

TVA plans to complete revisions to the project’s cost and schedule in the second quarter of this year. TVA is also conducting a root-cause analysis of the construction delays at the east Tennessee plant. Additionally, if Watts Bar completion is pushed back significantly, it could also delay the start of construction on another partially finished TVA reactor at the Bellefonte site in Alabama.

The quarterly report filed Friday follows a recent unpaid work stoppage and additional safety training after contractor employees improperly removed a valve from the new reactor and moved cables from a backup system at the plant’s operating reactor.

Initial construction on Watts Bar 2 began in the 1970s but stalled in 1988. TVA restarted construction on the pressurized water reactor in 2007.

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