TVA completes safety testing of new nuclear reactor

SPRING CITY, Tenn. (AP) – The Tennessee Valley Authority has completed a weeklong safety test of the Watts Bar Unit 2 reactor, which is expected to be the nation’s first new nuclear generating plant of the 21st century.

According to the utility, the test verified that safety systems designed to shut down the reactor work properly, even when relying on a backup system of diesel generators.

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.

The reactor is expected to be operational by June 2016.