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Watts Bar Unit 2 Is The First New American Nuclear Reactor To Go Online In 20 Years

Watts Bar Unit 2 is the first American nuclear reactor that went online in the 21st century. The reactor is a part of the Watts Bar Nuclear Plant being developed by the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA).

Watts Bar Unit 2 project is significant as it is the first commercial reactor in America in the last 20 years. The Watts Bar Unit 2 cost more than $4.7 billion and can power up around 650,000 homes.


Image Source: TVA


Given that no nuclear reactor was added to the grid in the last two decades, the authorities have reassured that all safety and quality measures were taken during the construction of the Watts Bar Unit 2.

The CEO for the TVA, Bill Johnson said the Watts Bar Unit 2 will generate low-cost, safe, and reliable energy. Before the reactor became fully operational, it was tested for three weeks whereby it underwent ‘extensive power ascension tests.’


Image Source: TVA


The company has upheld the energy production by the Watts Bar Unit 2 as a clean energy carbon emission. The Executive Vice President and Chief Nuclear Officer for TVA, Joe Grimes, said in his statement:

“Nuclear power remains the only source of carbon-free energy that is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. TVA believes that Watts Bar Unit 2, and other nuclear units like it across the Valley and the nation, represents a vital investment in our clean energy future.”


Image Source: TVA


The construction of the Watts Bar Unit 2 project started in the 1970s. TVA placed orders for 14 new reactors, but the project came to a standstill in 1986. Watts Bar Unit 1 eventually went online in 1996. However, following the Fukushima disaster, TVA halted the project till it could comply with the new safety regulations. Each Watts Bar Unit can generate 1150 MW of energy and can provide power to 1.3 million homes.