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Largest-ever TVA upgrade underway at Browns Ferry nuclear plant in Athens

WAAY 31 spoke with folks who live near the nuclear plant about the new improvements.

Posted: May 21, 2019 7:41 PM
Updated: May 21, 2019 9:51 PM

The largest-ever upgrade at a Tennessee Valley Authority facility is currently underway at the Browns Ferry Nuclear Plant in Limestone County.

TVA is upgrading their three existing nuclear reactors so that those units will generate more power.

The nearly $500-million-upgrade will add enough energy to power close to an extra 300,000 homes, officials say.

WAAY 31 spoke with folks who live near the nuclear plant about the new improvements.

“I was here back in ‘75 when it almost burned down and I got to work down there with the clean-up program," Richard Terry said.

Richard Terry told WAAY 31 the Browns Ferry Nuclear Plant has been a part of his life for more than 40 years.

“I like nuclear power. I’ve always been for it," he said. "It’s always brought a lot of jobs for the community.”

So, when Terry heard the plant was undergoing an enormous upgrade that will bring in more power, he told us he sees nothing but positives for his community.

He also said it's coming just in time for the nearby Mazda-Toyota plant.

“With the upgrades that they’re making, they can easily provide the energy for all of these new plants," he said. "And, as they provide that energy, these new plants are providing more and more jobs for our younger generation.”

And Terry isn't the only one who thinks so.

“I’m glad that they’ve got it. It’ll bring some good jobs for young people," Johnny Darrington said. "And I think it will bring in more business.”

Both Johnny Darrington and Richard Terry believe the upgrade at the nuclear plant signals a bright future for the county—especially after hearing the improvements will add at least 20 more years to the plant’s operation.

“It’s thrilling to see what it’s doing. Our county is growing. It’s growing tremendously, and we need places like this, doing what they’re doing," Terry said. "And the extension means they’re happy with where they are, and so we’re excited about that.”

The upgraded nuclear units will produce carbon-free energy, which means no fossil fuels will be used and there will be no emissions.

TVA officials tell WAAY 31 the project is wrapping up, and they expect it to be complete some time this summer.

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