ATHENS, Ala. – The Tennessee Valley Authority’s Browns Ferry Nuclear Plant Unit 3 has begun a scheduled refueling and maintenance outage that will prepare the unit to generate low-cost, carbon-free electricity for the next two years.
Browns Ferry Unit 3 was taken offline on Friday to begin refueling for its 16th operating cycle. Units 1 and 2 will continue to generate electricity during the Unit 3 outage, a regularly scheduled and carefully planned activity.
“Refueling Unit 3 is an important part of making sure that all three Browns Ferry units continue to safely generate reliable and clean energy for years to come, fulfilling TVA’s vision of being a national leader in the production of low-cost and cleaner power,” said TVA Executive Vice President and Chief Nuclear Officer Joe Grimes.
During the outage, 288 fuel assemblies will be replaced, roughly one third of the reactor core. In addition, maintenance on key equipment and systems will be performed, including work that cannot be done while the unit is online.
More than 900 TVA and contract employees will supplement the site’s regular staff. In total, about 181,000 work-hours are scheduled during the refueling and maintenance outage.
TVA is committed to improving equipment reliability and operating margins across the nuclear fleet. All six TVA nuclear reactors generated electricity at or near full power during the severe cold in January, supporting the response from all segments of TVA’s generation and transmission system to provide electricity for heating homes and keeping essential services open across the Valley.
At Browns Ferry, TVA’s commitment to improvement achieved a site milestone on Dec. 14, 2013, when the plant marked 223 consecutive days of online operation by all three units. The start of the Unit 3 outage ended a consecutive run of more than 351 days for that particular unit.
At maximum summer capacity, Browns Ferry’s three units generate a combined 3,300 megawatts of electricity, which is 10 percent of TVA’s total generation capacity and enough electricity to power more than 2 million homes.
The Tennessee Valley Authority is a corporate agency of the United States that provides electricity for business customers and local power distributors serving 9 million people in parts of seven southeastern states. TVA receives no taxpayer funding, deriving virtually all of its revenues from sales of electricity. In addition to operating and investing its revenues in its electric system, TVA provides flood control, navigation and land management for the Tennessee River system and assists local power companies and state and local governments with economic development and job creation.