An independent body within the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) has recommended proceeding with the licensing process for the Tennessee Valley Authority's (TVA) 1,150-megawatt (MW) Watts Bar Unit 2 nuclear reactor.

In a letter to the NRC chairman, the Advisory Committee on Reactor Safeguards noted that "there is reasonable assurance" that a second unit can operate at the Watts Bar plant "without undue risk to the health and safety of the public."

Currently, the unit is 95% complete and is on schedule to begin commercial operations between September 2015 and June 2016, at a total cost of $4 to $4.5 billion.

According to Joe Grime, TVA's chief nuclear officer, the committee's conclusion on TVA's preparedness and ability to operate a dual-unit station is the result of six years of discussions, interactions and meetings through which TVA has demonstrated that Unit 2 "is being completed the right way - safely, with quality, and in a manner to protect the general public."

Question or comment about this article? Contact the editor: engineering360editors@ihs.com