TVA Costs Rise With Heat

When the Tennessee River sweats, it’s bad news for Tennessee Valley Authority ratepayers.

With the river at 90 degrees in north Alabama, the utility Wednesday had to reduce a third reactor at Browns Ferry Nuclear Plant to 50 percent power.

TVA nuclear spokesman Ray Golden told the Chattanooga Times Free Press that when the water reaches 90 degrees, TVA can’t add more heat.

Heat last summer forced TVA to spend $50 million for replacement power. The extra expense added between 50 cents and $1 to most electric bills several months later.

A new $80 million cooling tower at the Browns Ferry plant near Athens, Ala., will start up in the next few months.

Knoxville-based TVA has about 9 million customers in Tennessee, Kentucky, Virginia, North Carolina, Alabama, Georgia and Mississippi.