TVA shuts down Watts Bar reactor, declares ‘unusual event’ via Chattanuuga Times Free Press

by Dave Flessner

The Tennessee Valley Authority idled one of the reactors at its newest nuclear power plant Wednesday after a gauge indicated a lower than expected level in one of its four steam generators and then, within 15 minutes of when workers shut down the Unit 1 reactor, workers detected smoke in a battery room in the control building.

TVA activated the lowest level of its emergency response to the potential fire at the Watts Bar Nuclear Power Plant at 9:52 a.m. Wednesday due to the smoke. But TVA spokesman Jim Hopson said plant workers determined there was no fire but only an overheated component that began smoking.


The initial problem that caused the Unit 1 reactor at Watts Bar to shut down was determined to be a faulty control card that gave workers a false indication of a problem.


The smoke detected at Watts Bar Wednesday was the first such fire risk activated by TVA at one of its three nuclear power plants since smoke was detected at the Unit 2 reactor at the Sequoyah Nuclear Power Plant in November 2018.

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