Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) has announced that in order to meet growing demand, it plans to restart its 1,065 MW Browns Ferry Unit 1 nuclear power plant in northern Alabama, which has been idle for 15 years. Browns Ferry 1 could be restarted in about five years at a cost of $1.7 billion to $1.8 billion, according to TVA. The power authority estimates that power demand is climbing by about 3 percent per year in the Southeast.
Browns Ferry Unit 1 began service in 1974 but was shut in 1985 along with Browns Ferry nuclear Units 2 and 3, both also rated at 1,065 MW, amid ongoing safety and debt concerns. Browns Ferry 2 returned to service in 1991 and Browns Ferry 3 returned in 1995.
TVA said it will also ask the Nuclear Regulatory Commission for a 20-year extension on the operating licenses of all three Browns Ferry nuclear units. The license to operate Browns Ferry 1 expires in 2013, with Unit 2’s license set to expire in 2014, and a 2016 expiration date for Unit 3.