Issue Date: June 20, 2016
Long-stalled U.S. nuclear plant set to come on-line
For the first time in 20 years, a new commercial nuclear power plant will come on-line in the U.S. when Watts Bar Unit 2 in southeastern Tennessee begins operations later this summer. The plant will be the first to meet new regulations from the Nuclear Regulatory Commission after the 2011 earthquake and tsunami that damaged reactors at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant in Japan, the Energy Information Administration (EIA) says. After a decades-long delay, construction of the plant, which began in 1973, concluded in 2015 at a total cost of $4.7 billion. The plant is expected to add 1,150 MW of electricity generating capacity to the area. Together with Watts Bar Unit 1, which began operating in 1996, Watts Bar Unit 2 will generate enough electricity to supply 1.3 million homes daily, according to Tennessee Valley Authority, a federally owned electric utility. EIA says that within the next four years, four other commercial reactors under construction in Georgia and South Carolina are expected to begin operating.
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