Long-delayed nuclear reactor requests operating license

SPRING CITY, Tenn. (AP) – The Tennessee Valley Authority is on track to open the nation’s first new nuclear generating plant of the 21st century.

The public utility says it has sent a letter to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission requesting an operating license for the Watts Bar Unit 2 nuclear reactor.

According to the utility, the letter says construction of the reactor is substantially complete and lists remaining activities to be finished prior to operation.

The letter comes after comprehensive testing on major reactor systems to demonstrate operational readiness.

Watts Bar Unit 2 was begun in the 1970s but mothballed for years. When complete, it is expected to produce 1,150 megawatts of electricity – enough to meet the needs of 650,000 homes.