Two-Month Leadership Transition Under Way in TVA Nuclear Group
August 8, 2011
CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. ― The Tennessee Valley Authority announced Monday a plan that will provide a two-month transition in the leadership of its Nuclear Generation Development and Construction group.
Ashok Bhatnagar, senior vice president for NGDC since 2007, has announced his plan to retire, effective Oct. 1. With the pending retirement, Chief Operating Officer Bill McCollum has named Mike Skaggs, currently site vice president at Sequoyah Nuclear Plant, to be the next senior vice president for NGDC.
“The importance of the construction work that is under way at Watts Bar Unit 2 is key as this leadership transition occurs,” McCollum said. “Both Ashok and Mike have years of experience in the nuclear field and a combined 34 years of experience with TVA nuclear operations.
“In addition, Mike has extensive nuclear construction experience, including work at Watts Bar Unit 1 and at Browns Ferry Unit 1,” he said.
McCollum said the pace of construction at Watts Bar 2 means TVA “will not meet the aggressive 60-month timetable for the project. We are reviewing the overall construction and licensing schedule and will take a deliberate approach that will extend commercial operation of the facility from late 2012 into 2013.”
The construction progress, combined with a licensing delay related to an Atomic Safety and Licensing Board hearing on an aquatic issue and integrating safety modifications from the Fukushima accident in Japan, will impact the schedule, he said.
“There is no substitute for safety and quality in the construction of our nuclear facilities,” McCollum said. “We have the time and resources to do it right.”
As planned, TVA received a Nuclear Regulatory Commission license for fuel at Watts Bar for use in Unit 2, and the new fuel began arriving this summer, he said.
TVA is working closely with contractors performing much of the construction work at Watts Bar and will develop a detailed timetable for completion and assess the impact on costs, McCollum said. When the NRC issues a final report on Fukushima-related changes, a more accurate assessment of costs will be made. TVA expects, however, the overall impact on the cost of electricity from Watts Bar 2 should be small, he said.
“As part of TVA’s renewed vision, nuclear is an important part of our energy mix to achieve cleaner air and competitive rates,” he said.
McCollum will continue to have oversight responsibility for construction completion at Watts Bar 2 and future nuclear construction. Skaggs will be senior vice president for NGDC with responsibility for completion activities at Watts Bar 2 and for development activities at Bellefonte, reporting directly to McCollum, effective Oct. 1.
John Carlin, who was site vice president at Constellation’s R.E. Ginna Nuclear Power Plant, will be the new site vice president at TVA’s Sequoyah Nuclear Plant. He previously was a unit operations manager at Browns Ferry in the early 1990s.
TVA began building Watts Bar 2 in 1972 and the unit was deferred in 1988, when utilities nationwide lowered their power growth forecasts. Work to complete the 1,180‑megawatt generating unit resumed in 2007 and is currently about 86 percent complete. In recent years, studies have shown that completion of TVA’s unfinished nuclear units will produce lower priced power than other options.
Bhatnagar joined TVA in 1999 as site support manager at Browns Ferry Nuclear Plant. He was promoted to plant manager in 2000 and site vice president in 2001. In 2004 he was named senior vice president for nuclear operations and senior vice president for Nuclear Generation Development and Construction in 2007.
Skaggs joined TVA in 1993 as manager of projects at Watts Bar Nuclear Plant. He served as vice president at Watts Bar in 2005, vice president of nuclear operations support and currently is the site vice president at Sequoyah Nuclear Plant.
The Tennessee Valley Authority, a corporation owned by the U.S. government, provides electricity for 9 million people in parts of seven southeastern states at prices below the national average. TVA, which receives no taxpayer money and makes no profits, also provides flood control, navigation and land management for the Tennessee River system and assists utilities and state and local governments with economic development.
Ray Golden, Chattanooga, (423) 751-8400
TVA Media Relations, Knoxville, (865) 632-6000