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Unit 1 connects to TVA power grid
Spokesman says Browns Ferry reactor faces 2 more shutdowns for tests

By Ronnie Thomas 340-2438

ATHENS — Eleven days after restarting the Unit 1 reactor at Browns Ferry Nuclear Plant, operators connected it to the Tennessee Valley Authority power system grid.

Terry Johnson, TVA's Browns Ferry spokesman, said if all goes well, the unit should be running full out within the week.

But within 30 days of achieving 100 percent power, operators will shut down the reactor twice during different tests.

"We will do them to make sure that the reactor shuts down automatically as it's designed to do when operators trip the generator breaker and, in the second test, close the steam isolation valves to the turbine building," Johnson said. "An automatic shutdown occurs when all control rods insert into the reactor."

At a cost of $1.8 billion, Browns Ferry restarted Unit 1 on May 22. The reactor had been idle since March 1985, when TVA took it off line because of managerial and technical problems.

But two days after the restart, operators shut it down after an accidental discharge of 600 gallons of non-radioactive electro-hydraulic control fluid. Unit 1 was in the midst of power ascension tests at the time.

"We connected the unit to the grid Saturday at 1:35 p.m.," Johnson said. "Starting a reactor is different than tying it to the grid. We tied on after completing inspections and tests needed to prepare the generator for power production."

Johnson said the power ascension testing is similar to what the facility did for Units 2 and 3 when operators restarted them in 1991 and 1995, respectively.

"We're out there looking for any potential problems," he said. "If we find any, that might cause us to stop increasing power. We may even find something that requires us to shut down before we plan to.

"We're going through the process slowly and deliberately to safely and reliably provide electricity for the Tennessee Valley."

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