TVA completes nearly $500M upgrade at Browns Ferry nuclear plant

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The Tennessee Valley Authority says it’s completed a $475 million upgrade at its oldest nuclear power plant in a move that helped boost the amount of electricity it produces without carbon emissions.

The Times Free Press reports modifications to reactors at Browns Ferry Nuclear Plant in Athens, Alabama, added power and expanded service to almost 300,000 more homes.

TVA CEO Jeff Lyash said the upgrades, coupled with increased use of solar power, will help TVA reduce carbon emissions by 70 percent of 2005 levels by 2030.

The newspaper reports solar energy is a small part of TVA’s overall generation. Although nuclear power is expected to produce about 40 percent of TVA’s electricity, its plan for the next 20 years shows about 15 percent of power will still come from coal and 20 p  ercent from natural gas.

More than 200 modifications were made as part of the upgrade. Looming large among the newly installed pieces of equipment include a 127,000-pound high-pressure turbine rotor, according to earlier details on the project.

Browns Ferry is the TVA’s largest nuclear power site, accounting for about 10 percent of the authority’s electricity mix. It opened in 1974.

At the time, the facility’s three boiling-water reactors were the first in the world capable of producing more than 1,000 MW. Browns Ferry still remains one of the nation’s largest power generation plants.

All three reactor units are licensed to operate into the 2030s, according to reports.

(The Associated Press contributed to this report).

 

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