Energy conservation and efficiency continued to be a strong focus in the 1980s as TVA provided low-interest loans for purchasing and installing a new generation of more efficient heat pumps.
One year before its 50th anniversary, TVA became a lead participant in the 1982 World’s Fair in Knoxville, providing two barges hosting “The Valley Adventure” exhibits about TVA history.
By 1983, TVA’s five nuclear units at Sequoyah and Browns Ferry provided about one-fourth of total system production. In 1985, TVA voluntarily shut down Browns Ferry and Sequoyah to correct technical and management problems. Unit 2 at Sequoyah was restarted in May 1988 followed by Unit 1 in November 1988.
After an accident in 1979 at the Three Mile Island Nuclear Power Plant in Pennsylvania, TVA took steps to improve nuclear safety through improved plant designs, tougher training standards, lower employee exposure limits and expanded on-site storage of spent fuel.
Toward the end of the decade, TVA began to cut costs, stabilize rates and improve efficiency company-wide. Over time, these measures reduced TVA’s workforce by half, cut overhead by 30 percent, lowered operating costs by nearly $800 million a year, and achieved cumulative savings and efficiency improvements of $1.8 billion.