The Tennessee Valley Authority announced a $467 million upgrade project at the Browns Ferry Unit 2 in Athens, Alabama, had begun on March 2.
The unit was taken offline for a refueling outage the will include installation of the final round of modifications necessary to upgrade the plant's capacity. Once "completed and thoroughly tested," the upgrade will allow the plant to generate a total of 465 megawatts of additional electricity, bringing the total to 3,933 for the three units at the plant. Unit 2 will be the third and final unit to complete upgrades under and Extended Power Uprate program approved by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.
Unit 3 started generating electricity at the higher EPU power rating in mid-July 2018 while Unit 1 started generating at full EPU power in late January of this year.
“We learned a great deal upgrading Units 1 and 3 to generate more power and will apply those lessons as we install modifications on Unit 2 during this outage and conduct extensive testing to ensure safety and verify plant response,” said Lang Hughes, Browns Ferry site vice president.
The TVA said Unit 2 had produced 18 billion kilowatt hours of carbon-free electricity in the past two years.
“Being able to generate more power than ever before at Browns Ferry is the result of a lot of good, hard work by TVA employees and our vendor partners to uphold our top priority — protecting the health and safety of the public — while increasing our ability to meet the current and future energy needs of the Tennessee Valley," Hughes said.
In addition to modifications that support the power uprate, the Unit 2 outage will also feature more than 11,000 work activities, including the installation of 320 new fuel assemblies along with upgrades, modifications, repairs and testing of other plant equipment, including inspections of reactor components and maintenance of key safety systems. To complete this outage, TVA has augmented the Browns Ferry workforce with an estimated 2,100 additional contract employees.
Before being taken offline for the outage, Unit 2 generated electricity for 695 days, including a consecutive run of 401 days.
Browns Ferry Unit 2 is one of seven operational TVA nuclear reactors, supplying nearly 40 percent of all electricity used by nearly 10 million people in the Tennessee Valley.
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The three plants will generate an additional 465 megawatts, not Unit # 2 on it's own. The uprate is basically 150 megawatts per unit.