Tennessee Valley Authority’s Browns Ferry 2, a 1155MW boiling water reactor (BWR), was taken offline on 2 March to start a scheduled refuelling outage and complete an extended power uprate (EPU).
TVA is spending approximately $475 million implementing the EPU at the Browns Ferry nuclear plant in Alabama.
Once work is completed and thoroughly tested at Browns Ferry 2, the final unit to be uprated, the total output of the three-unit nuclear plant will have increased by 465MW to 3933MWe total, TVA said.
Power uprates of 14.3% were approved by the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) for all three Browns Ferry units in August 2017. The uprate was implemented at Browns Ferry 3 during its spring 2018 outage, and it started generating electricity at its higher EPU rating in mid-July 2018. Browns Ferry 1 started operating at full EPU power in late January 2019.
“Being able to generate more power than ever before at Browns Ferry is the result of a lot of good, hard work by TVA employees and our vendor partners to uphold our top priority — protecting the health and safety of the public — while increasing our ability to meet the current and future energy needs of the Tennessee Valley,” noted Lang Hughes, site vice president at Browns Ferry.
“We learned a great deal upgrading Units 1 and 3 to generate more power and will apply those lessons as we install modifications on Unit 2 during this outage and conduct extensive testing to ensure safety and verify plant response,” Hughes said.
In addition to uprate work, the outage at Browns Ferry 2 will also include loading of 320 new fuel assemblies, as well as upgrades, modifications, repairs and testing of other plant equipment. TVA says it has increased the Browns Ferry workforce with an estimated 2100 additional contractors.
Browns Ferry 2 is one of seven reactors operated by TVA, which supply nearly 40% of the electricity used by around 10 million people in the Tennessee Valley.
Photo: Browns Ferry nuclear plant (Credit: TVA)