Nuclear Power, the Renaissance

By May 23, 2007Energy

From The Birmingham News:

A north Alabama nuclear reactor idled 22 years ago amid safety concerns was restarted by the Tennessee Valley Authority early Tuesday morning.

TVA’s restart of the Browns Ferry Unit 1 reactor came after a five-year, $1.8-billion refurbishment. It marks the first time in more than two decades all three of the plant’s reactors have been operating.

From the Decatur Daily News:

For the first time since 1985, uranium atoms are splitting at Browns Ferry Nuclear Plant Unit 1. The restart began Tuesday at 12:28 a.m.

“This is the newest old plant in the nation,” said Browns Ferry spokesman Craig Beasley.

Unit 1 may begin generating electricity as early as this week on a temporary basis as testing continues. The Tennessee Valley Authority does not expect a permanent connection to the power grid for at least two weeks.

And from the Tennessee Valley Authority:

“Returning Browns Ferry Unit 1 to our nuclear fleet gives TVA another dependable, safe and emissions-free source of generation to help meet the growing demand for power in the Tennessee Valley,” said TVA President and CEO Tom Kilgore. “The successful recovery of TVA’s third unit at Browns Ferry is a result of the commitment, determination and attention to detail of the people who did the work. I offer my sincere thanks and congratulations to all TVA employees and contractors who helped bring this important project to a successful conclusion.”

Operators began the deliberate, controlled process of restarting the reactor on Monday, May 21, and a self-sustaining nuclear reaction was achieved at 12:28 am CDT on Tuesday, May 22. Operators will gradually increase power in the reactor over the next several days and will test secondary plant systems to ensure they operate as designed.