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Watts Bar Unit 2 Project Updates Archive

October 29, 2013

Workers are continuing to complete Watts Bar 2 in a safe and high quality manner, on time and within budget. The team recognizes there are challenges ahead and will work through those the right way to deliver a safe, reliable and efficient unit. That is the bottom line in the Fifth Quarterly Update to the Watts Bar 2 Estimate to Complete being released today. 

Key points in the quarterly update, which covers May - July, include:

  • Safety performance remained strong, with workers exceeding more than 21.3 million work hours without a lost-time incident. 
  • The Quality Control Acceptance Rate remained high, with 96 percent of work presented for inspection meeting quality control requirements.
  • The project remains on track for most likely completion by December 2015 and within a cost range of $4 billion to $4.5 billion.
  • Bulk construction is in the final phase, and the project is focusing on completing and readying plant systems for pre-operational testing.
  • Challenges to finishing Watts Bar 2 have remained consistent and include:
    • Completing complex work and required documentation of work
    • Performing testing on shared Unit 1/Unit 2 systems without impacting the safe and reliable operations of Unit 1
    • Addressing regulatory and licensing issues
    • Successfully transitioning the site to dual-unit operations

image of watts bar 2

Completing the Watts Bar 2 project in a safe manner, on time and within budget will validate the investment TVA has made in nuclear power as a key component in generating safe, reliable, carbon-free, low-cost energy and the value of using a diverse mix of energy sources to meet the Valley's electricity needs.

July 18, 2013

The fourth quarterly update to the Watts Bar Unit 2 estimate to complete confirms the project remains on target for most likely commercial operation to begin in December 2015.

The Watts Bar 2 team is meeting targets for safety, quality, cost and schedule. The team is working the plan that has been laid out, using comprehensive metrics to monitor progress and making effective adjustments when potential issues arise.

Key points in the update, which covers February - April 2013, include:

  • Workers continued to deliver good safety performance.
  • Quality performance as measured by the Quality Control Acceptance Rate remained high, improving to 97 percent during the quarter.
  • Overall, cost performance continued to be better than projected in the revised estimate to complete.
  • Schedule performance met expectations for the quarter. Challenges are anticipated as the transition continues to system turnover and testing, while at the same time, the project accelerates the completion of several plant systems.
  • No new risks emerged that currently compromise completion of the project; regulatory and licensing issues remain the primary risks.

image of workers at watts bar

More information is available in the Fourth Quarterly Update to the Watts Bar 2 Estimate to Complete

April 11, 2013

The third quarterly update (November 2012 - January 2013) on Watts Bar 2 shows that work continues to meet targets for safety, quality, cost and schedule as the project prepares to transition from construction to completing and releasing systems for testing.

construction worker

Productivity is aligning with the schedule and the pace of installing commodities, such as miscellaneous steel, electrical conduit, large valves and tubing, is on track to support completion milestones.

During the quarter, the Watts Bar Unit 2 team continued to work safely and to do good work.   Workers achieved almost 18 million work-hours without a lost-time incident, and the overall acceptance rate of quality control inspections was at 96 percent or better. Cost and schedule performance achieved established goals.

There were not any new short-term issues identified that compromise project completion, but there will be challenges as the unit is built, with regulatory and licensing issues being the primary challenges as the team works to complete Watts Bar 2 by December 2015.

More information is available in the Third Quarterly Update to the Watts Bar 2 Estimate to Complete.

February 6, 2012

Lifting 144 tons of carbon steel and precisely crafted control rods from a reactor vessel to a specially built holding stand and back again is a complex job performed at the start and near the end of every refueling outage for pressurized water reactors like Watts Bar 1.

For the Watts Bar 2 completion project, it is an infrequent task that took place on January 23 after months of detailed planning that was reinforced by the collaboration and cooperation.

In the end, the team achieved the right results and moved the 288,000-plus pound Watts Bar Unit 2 reactor pressure vessel head from its holding stand to the top of the reactor pressure vessel safely and event free. The move clears the way for the Watts Bar 2 team to start the remaining work required to complete construction in upper containment.

image of head lift

December 20, 2012

Watts Bar Unit 2 is on track with the revised cost and time estimates established in April 2012 when the TVA board of directors approved continuing with completing construction of the project.

The second Quarterly Update to the Watts Bar Unit 2 Estimate to Complete (August – October 2012) (PDF, 765 kb) shows the project is meeting targets for completion between September and December of 2015 and within the projected total cost range of $4 billion to $4.5 billion. The update also verifies safety performance remains excellent and the quality of work remains high.

During the quarter, the project focused on efficient performance of construction activities; maintaining the overall pace of installing commodities, such as valves, piping, and cable; and continuing to implement improvement initiatives. 

TVA has invested in nuclear power as a key component to generating safe, reliable, clean, and low-cost energy.  Completing Watts Bar Unit 2 safely, on time and on budget will validate this investment and increase confidence across the industry that building new nuclear is the right course of action in preparing for future energy needs.


October 26, 2012

TVA has issued its quarterly update on construction progress on Watts Bar Unit 2, which will be the first new reactor to achieve commercial operations in the U.S. since Watts Bar Unit 1 in 1996.

The report verifies performance is consistent with detailed completion cost and time estimates approved in April 2012 by the TVA Board of Directors.

The first Quarterly Update to the Watts Bar Unit 2 Estimate to Complete (May - July 2012) (PDF) shows the project is on track for completion between September and December of 2015 and within a total cost range of $4 billion to $4.5 billion. The update also verifies safety and quality remain high and there are no new risks in the short term that compromise completion of the project.

The Watts Bar Unit 2 team made good progress during the quarter. This is progress for TVA’s entire nuclear fleet as we work to ensure dual-unit operational readiness at Watts Bar Nuclear Plant.

TVA has a balanced energy mix that provides reliable and cleaner power for the Tennessee Valley. Watts Bar Unit 2 will produce more than 1,100 megawatts of energy at competitive prices and be another major source of emission-free electricity. It is an important and cost-effective part of that balanced mix, and as with any energy generation produced by TVA, safety and operational excellence are paramount.”

October 10, 2012, Talk about a proud team! 

group photo of the team

The sheet metal craft at Watts Bar 2 were able to save 11,000 man-hours compared to a forecast on one scope of work.  This savings does not include the additional hours and dollars saved by field engineering, design engineering, project controls, materials management and others. 

The scope of work included the fabrication and installation of four specially designed hangers that support a critical section of large duct for the heating, ventilation and air conditioning system in four different locations at Watts Bar 2.

These specially designed hangers weigh approximately 6,100 pounds, are made up of over 120 pieces and have over 100 inspection points.  Since the hangers twist and turn to make incredible connections to the base plates in highly congested areas, they were rightly given the name “spider hangers.”

photo of spider hanger

September 19, 2012, Another safety milestone achieved at Watts Bar 2

Workers at Watts Bar 2 recently surpassed 16 million work hours without a lost-time accident. This accomplishment demonstrates that safety is more than talk at the project — it is a way of life.

Building a nuclear plant is a complex task with lots of inherent safety hazards. Watts Bar 2 construction workers are demonstrating their commitment to keeping themselves and others safe by:

  • Wearing the right personal protective equipment for every job
  • Taking 2 minutes before they start work to identify potential hazards
  • Immediately reporting potential safety issues and all injuries so appropriate steps can be taken to prevent future injuries
  • Intervening with co-workers to protect each other from unsafe acts and to reinforce safe behaviors

Making the workplace safer doesn’t have to be complicated. Many times it means just paying attention and taking simple steps to remedy an obviously unsafe condition. One Watts Bar 2 worker recently noticed a large panel had been left in place after it was no longer needed. This created a potential hazard, limited access and made it hard to move materials in and out of the area. The worker used processes in place at the plant and got the help he needed to have the panel removed, making the area safer and easier to work in.

In ways like this, Watts Bar 2 workers are committed to going home to their families as safe and healthy as they came to work and helping their teammates do the same. By not walking by anything that is unsafe and taking quick action to fix things that diminish a safe workplace, the Watts Bar 2 team is moving forward to achieve the safe and quality completion of the unit by December 2015.


Picture of welder

A worker welds on a component that will heat water for use in the Watts Bar 2  steam generators.  The steam generators will make the steam that will be used to generate electricity when the unit is put into operation.

August 1, 2012

Performance continues to meet established targets at Watts Bar 2 where workers are focused on tasks such as installing more than 280,000 feet of cable, 5,000 conduit supports and 3,500 tubing supports. 

For the week ending July 19, workers at Watts Bar 2 earned over 20,000 work hours against a target of 19,561, resulting in a schedule performance index of 1.02.  A schedule performance index greater than 1.0 indicates more work was completed than was planned.  The schedule performance index is one of hundreds of indicators used to track progress at the construction project.  The indicators help make sure that potential performance issues are recognized early so actions can be taken to keep the project on track.

The safe and quality completion of Watts Bar Unit 2 by December 2015 will help TVA deliver a balanced mix of energy sources and increase the supply of emission-free electricity.

July 11, 2012

The Watts Bar 2 construction team is on track with the revised schedule and budget established earlier this year to complete the unit. The planning of work-order packages, which helps productivity, is continuing to improve, and assessments and monitoring are in progress to make sure the right controls and oversight are in place.

The Tennessee Valley Authority board of directors in April 2012 approved continuing the construction of Watts Bar 2 with a revised estimate to complete of $4 billion to $4.5 billion, with a most likely estimate of $4.2 billion. The unit is estimated to be complete between September and December 2015.

The safe and quality completion of Watts Bar Unit 2 will help TVA deliver a balanced mix of energy sources and increase the supply of emission-free electricity.


Watts Bar Construction




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