The CEO of the Tennessee Valley Authority says its Sequoyah Unit Two nuclear reactor north of Chattanooga should come back online early next year. Crews have 90 days to replace aging equipment.
TVA is using remote-controlled robots and what it calls the world’s largest crane to lift the top off the reactor’s containment building and replace a set of steam generators. Seqouyah has been operating since 1980. By replacing the generators, TVA hopes federal regulators will renew its license for another 20 years. Tom Kilgore is TVA’s CEO.
“We’re picking up these approximately 350 ton generators and putting them in the top of our containment building. If the wind is up above a certain level or if fog comes in we’re susceptible to weather delays.”
Nevertheless, Kilgore says the $360 million project is ahead of schedule. Workers have already replaced the generators on Sequoyah Unit One and another reactor near Chattanooga.
While TVA is refurbishing its plants that have been in operation for decades, it’s also trying to finish reactors that were never completed. Those projects have been plagued by years of delays and billions in cost overruns.