BROWNS FERRY NUCLEAR POWER PLANT – TVA’s FIRST
The Browns Ferry Nuclear Plant is located on the Tennessee River near Decatur and Athens, Alabama, on the north side (right bank) of Wheeler Lake. The nuclear power plant is named after a ferry that operated at the site until the middle of the 20th century.
The site has three General Electric boiling water reactor (BWR) nuclear generating units and is owned entirely by the Tennessee Valley Authority.
It was the Tennessee Valley Authority’s (TVA) first nuclear power plant, and the largest in the world when it began operation in 1974.
TVA restarted Browns Ferry Units 2 and 3 in the 1990s. As part of a long-range integrated resource planning process, TVA deferred the decision in 1995 to recover Unit 1.
In 2002, TVA completed a number of detailed studies and determined that restarting the long idled reactor was the best business decision to help meet growing demand for electricity in its service area.
In 2002, when the TVA Board decided to authorize the restart project, TVA estimated Unit 1 would have to operate between seven and eight years in order to pay back the cost of recovery.
- Major construction on Browns Ferry began in 1967.
- Unit 1 began commercial operation on August 1, 1974.
- Unit 2 began commercial operation on March 1, 1975.
- Unit 3 began commercial operation on March 1, 1977.
- TVA shut down Browns Ferry and the rest of its nuclear fleet in 1985.
- TVA restarted units 2 and 3 in 1991 and 1995 respectively.
- TVA Board approved the restart of Unit 1 in May 2002.