Wednesday, May 03, 2017

Junk Watts Bar Facility: This Is What Capacity Factor Looks Like With Intractable Employee Intimidation By Upper Management

They are just not doing enough or quality, maintenance or replacement of obsolete component. The NRC just doesn't have enough horsepower. Increasing numbers of nuclear plants are completely spinning out of control right now.

I can't wait for the drama with the startup of either Arkansas Nuclear One units. It better than the movies.   
Facility: WATTS BAR
Region: 2 State: TN
Unit: [1] [ ] [ ]
RX Type: [1] W-4-LP,[2] W-4-LP
Notification Date: 05/02/2017
Notification Time: 22:33 [ET]
Event Date: 05/02/2017
Event Time: 19:45 [EDT]
Last Update Date: 05/02/2017
Emergency Class: NON EMERGENCY
10 CFR Section:
50.72(b)(2)(iv)(B) - RPS ACTUATION - CRITICAL
Person (Organization):

UnitSCRAM CodeRX CRITInitial PWRInitial RX ModeCurrent PWRCurrent RX Mode
1M/RY26Power Operation0Hot Standby
Event Text

"On May 2nd, 2017, at 1945 EDT, Watts Bar Nuclear [WBN] Plant Unit 1 reactor was manually tripped due to a failure of the #3 Reactor Coolant Pump normal feeder breaker to close during the planned power transfer to unit power following startup. Concurrent with the reactor trip, the Auxiliary Feedwater system actuated as designed.

"All control and shutdown rods fully inserted. All safety systems responded as designed. The unit is currently stable in Mode 3, with decay heat removal via auxiliary feedwater and main steam dump systems. Unit 1 is in a normal shutdown electrical alignment.

"This reactor trip and system actuation is being reported under 10CFR 50.72(b)(3)(iv)(A) and 10CFR 50.72 (b)(2)(iv)(B).
This below comment must be nuclear industry graveyard humor. These are the guys (unit 2) with a collapse main condenser...   
"There was no effect on WBN Unit 2.

"The NRC Senior Resident [Inspector] has been notified."
Here is two newspaper articles with TVA back peddling about the units 2 main condenser collapse and its terrible capacity factor.
TVA's newest nuclear plant helps keep winter costs down despite recent snags
Federal utility boosts profits during season even with cut in hydroelectric generation, decreased power sales
May 3rd, 2017 by Dave Flessner in Business Around the Region Read Time: 4 mins.
TVA's newest nuclear power plant helped enable the federal utility to keep costs down this winter while a drought cut hydroelectric generation from TVA's power-generating dams.
But a ruptured condenser that broke apart when support beams failed at the Watts Bar Unit 2 reactor on March 23 has forced the $5 billion power plant to cease power production for the past six weeks and could keep the reactor out of service until later this summer, TVA officials said Tuesday.
"These are huge pieces of equipment — three stories tall or more — and we are still assessing the extent of the damages and the best way to make the necessary repairs," TVA President Bill Johnson said Tuesday. "It isn't technically complicated, but there is very little space, so how you do [the fix] is the tricky part. We don't have a fixed schedule yet."
The heat exchanger, or condenser, turns steam generated within the reactor back into water. But it has nothing to do with the nuclear side of the plant.
Tennessee Valley Authority CEO Bill Johnson answers questions during an interview with The Associated Press Tuesday, April 18, 2017, in Nashville, Tenn. The CEO of the biggest public utility in the country says the agency is not going to reopen coal-fired power plants under President Donald Trump. (AP Photo/Mark Humphrey)
The condenser equipment could not be checked for reliability during the prolonged construction of Watts Bar Unit 2, which began in 1974 and was completed last year, Johnson said.
Dave Lochbaum, director of the Union of Concerned Scientists Nuclear Safety Project, said similar problems in the internal supports for the condenser developed at the Grand Gulf Nuclear Plant in Mississippi during that plant's initial fuel cycle.
The Nuclear Regulatory Commission also cited TVA last year for having a "chilled work environment" at Watts Bar that could stifle employees from voicing concerns. But regulators said in March that the work environment is improving and managers have implemented numerous processes and programs to address any employee concerns.
Or maybe the silence before the 100 yearer?  
"It seems like the worst is behind us, although the all-clear is not quite ready," Lochbaum said.
Making tritium for nuclear bombs
Watts Bar Unit 2 also could be critical to supplying a key component for America's nuclear arsenal. TVA has been irradiating tritium for nuclear weapons at its Unit 1 reactor at Watts Bar since 2003 and is preparing to also make tritium at the newest reactor at Watts Bar for the Department of Energy's military operations.
"We're in a unique position to support the DOE on tritium, a key component in the nation's nuclear component capabilities.," Johnson said. "Supporting the national defense is a key part of our history and this is just the latest in a long series of activities we have supported dating back to before World War II."
As a government-owned utility, TVA is uniquely positioned to use its nuclear power generation to also support nuclear weapons within the terms of international nonproliferation agreements that otherwise could restrict mixing civilian and military nuclear functions.
TVA changes generation mix
The 1,210-megawatt Watts Bar Unit 2 entered commercial operation on Oct. 19, 2016, as the first new nuclear reactor in the country in two decades.
TVA said Tuesday it brought a new 1,025-megawatt combined cycle power plant online last month to replace two coal units at the Paradise Fossil Plant in Kentucky. The new gas-powered facility was completed on time and within its $900 million budget, Johnson said.
TVA also added the River Bend Solar Energy Center in northern Alabama in November and another combined cycle gas-powered facility at the Allen Fossil Plant is expected to be completed in 2018, replacing TVA's 58-year-old coal plant in Memphis.
"TVA's generation fleet continues to become more diversified and this is helping us provide low-cost energy in a reliable and efficient manner," Johnson said. "With the drought conditions we experienced in the first half of the year, which limited power production from our dams, Watts Bar Nuclear Unit 2 played an important role in keeping costs low."
TVA rates lower than 5 years ago
Despite an increase in both TVA's base rates and fuel cost adjustments in the past year, Johnson said TVA rates are still below where they were in 2012, thanks to more than $800 million of cuts in annual operating expenses at TVA and the shift toward cheaper fuel sources, including natural gas and nuclear power.
"TVA's power rates have become more competitive year over year for several years now and we've managed to keep costs down this year despite drier than average conditions in the first half of the year," Johnson said.
Since he joined TVA as CEO in 2013, TVA has cut its staff by nearly 20 percent from 13,000 to about 10,500 today.
TVA said Tuesday its power sales in the winter quarter were down 7 percent, cutting net income by a third from last year. But for the first half of fiscal 2017, TVA still reported net income of $313 million, or $32 million more than the previous year, on sales of more than $5 billion in the 6-month period.
After completing Watts Bar and the new Paradise gas plant, TVA is focusing on finishing the Allen gas plant and spending another $1.1 billion in coal cleanup projects. But the agency's $26 billion of long-term debt should begin to decline this year and fall steadily over the coming decade, TVA Chief Financial Officer John Thomas said.
Them financial pin heads disconnected from the world. Maybe the pressure to reduce TVA's huge governmental debts is causing the problems in the Watts Bar two plant facility. Lets all just make believe they can bring down long term debts to zero in a century. Can you even imagine the stock price if this was a private company? You can clearly see the hypocrisy of the Great Southern extremist ideology here. Indeed, the extremist Republicans in general. Unpayable governmental debt to benefit my political self interest is perfectly ok for me, a grievous sin destroying the nation for all other ideologies, the poor and weak and other political parties. Less productive debt to everyone else means more blow debt for me. Throwing bags of governmental just printed one hundred bills from helicopters is great for my Southern district, but bad for everyone else. You can't even imagine the Roosevelt and later money we spend on the great southern infrastructure project of the 20th century, which drove the back water South to where they are today. It was once what a great nation could do. The forever unpayable long term debt is the Sword of Damocles hanging over TVA system. Believe me, the Southern conservatives and Republican extremist secretly love gigantic government and infinite government monies and debts as long as it serves their own pocket. Yep, our unimaginably large southern nuclear weapons production facilities was a Roosevelt infrastructure and jobs program. Do you remember, Roosevelt felt so sorry for seeing the suffering object and intractable poverty in the South, and especially in Georgia, he decided to fix it. It was what a great man once could do. I once was a southern long haul truck driver. I'd seen the southern infrastructure spectacular with my own eyes!!!    

One only wonders what the real price of TVA's electricity would be if Congress forced them to quickly pay off this debt. If they never allowed TVA to run up the long term debt. It would astronomical. The cheap price of Southern electricity is on the dime of everyone else in the nation!!!          
"Our expectation is that our debt will begin to drop this year," Johnson told financial analysts during an earnings call Tuesday.
TVA has $1 billion of notes up for maturity in July and another $700 million of bonds expiring in December "so I would expect we would be back in the market sometime this year."
Contact Dave Flessner at or at 423-757-6340.
(Platts)TVA says Watts Bar-2 reactor to be offline until summer for repairs
Washington (Platts)--2 May 2017 530 pm EDT/2130 GMT

The Tennessee Valley Authority's 1,210-MW Watts Bar-2 nuclear generating unit will be offline until sometime this summer as a result of a structural failure in the unit's condenser, TVA CEO Bill Johnson said in a conference call with analysts Tuesday.

The reactor, located in Spring City, Tennessee, has been shut since March 23, when it started up from an outage and experienced a condenser vacuum loss. A review showed the condenser waterbox had experienced a structural failure, the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission said in a preliminary report.

The condenser is a three-story-high heat exchanger connected to the turbine, a standard part of any generating unit, Johnson said. "We're still assessing the damage and the best way to repair it," he said.

The tight quarters inside the condenser are a challenge and "the logistics are quite tricky," Johnson said.
There is no fixed schedule for the repair work other than to complete it during the summer, he said.

Watts Bar-2 became the newest US nuclear unit in October when it began commercial operations. Construction of Watts Bar-2 began in the 1970s, but was suspended for two decades before TVA decided in 2007 to complete the unit.

The federal power producer said that many of the active plant components, pumps, valves and motors, were reconditioned or replaced during the completion effort.

The adjacent, 1,210-MW Watts Bar-1 reactor was operating at 15% of capacity Tuesday as it exited a refueling and maintenance outage that began March 18. The unit restarted earlier this week, and was at 14% of capacity early Monday, NRC said in its daily reactor status report.

Johnson said TVA's fuel and purchased power expenses were higher during the six months that ended March 31 as a result of lower hydroelectric generation and the need to purchase more power, Johnson said.

electricity generating mix for the six months ending March 31 was 41% nuclear power, 25% coal-fired units, 11% hydroelectric and purchased renewable power, 15% natural gas and 8% purchased non-renewable power, TVA said. That share was an increase from 32% nuclear power in the same period of fiscal 2016, it said.

TVA recorded net income of $211 million in the three months ending March 31, compared with a profit of $318 million in the same period of 2016, it said in a Tuesday filing with the US Securities and Exchange Commission. Its revenue totaled $2.51 billion in the quarter, compared with $2.53 billion in the same period a year earlier.

Expenses for
fuel and purchased power increased this year, TVA said.

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