Bechtel Applauds Successful Licensing of Second Reactor at Watts Bar Nuclear Plant

21 October 2015 RESTON, Virginia

First New Nuclear Reactor Authorized to Operate This Century in the United States

Bechtel today applauded the historic decision Thursday by the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission to grant an operating license to the Tennessee Valley Authority’s Watts Bar Unit 2 in Spring City, Tennessee, the first new nuclear reactor to receive authorization to operate this century in the United States. Bechtel was the primary construction contractor on the completion of Watts Bar Unit 2 and has been working at the site since 2007. The last new nuclear plant to come online in the United States was Watts Bar Unit 1 in 1996.

“Licensure of a nuclear plant is a highly significant achievement,” said Craig Albert, president of Bechtel’s Nuclear, Security & Environmental business unit. “We applaud the decision by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission and recognize it as a historic milestone for dependable, low-carbon electricity in the United States. Our congratulations go to the Tennessee Valley Authority and the thousands of construction, engineering, and technical staff who worked for years to reach this day. We look forward to fuel loading and the final steps still to come before the reactor begins providing electricity to the grid.”

Albert noted that nuclear energy will need to be part of the global energy mix. “To sustainably meet the world’s growing demands for low-carbon electricity, nuclear power must play a role in an all-of-the-above generation strategy,” Albert said.
Notable workforce achievements include:
  • A 98-percent quality-control acceptance rate on the first inspection.
  • An exceptional safety record, amassing at one time 33 million hours (nearly five years) without a day lost to injury.
  • In June of this year, Watts Bar was the first U.S. plant to complete post-Fukushima safety upgrades and an inspection by the NRC. 
  • Unit 2 successfully completed the NRC’s operational readiness team inspection this summer.
Bechtel has performed work on more than 80 percent of U.S. nuclear plants and 150 nuclear plants worldwide, on all major reactor models. Additional nuclear experience across the facility lifecycle includes environmental cleanup for the U.S. Department of Energy and the UK Nuclear Decommissioning Authority, and co-management of U.S. nuclear security research laboratories and plants.

Learn more about Watts Bar Unit 2