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Government gives TVA license to operate new nuclear reactor

October 22, 2015

SPRING CITY, Tenn. (AP) — The Spring City reactor that will be the nation’s first new nuclear generating plant of the 21st century has gotten the go-ahead from the federal government.

The Tennessee Valley Authority says the Nuclear Regulatory Commission issued an operating license for Watts Bar Unit 2 on Thursday.

Speaking at a news conference at the plant, TVA President Bill Johnson said the reactor will provide low-cost, reliable and clean energy. Nuclear reactors do not produce greenhouse gases, although some environmentalists dispute the “clean” label because reactors produce radioactive waste.

Johnson said it will still be several months before the plant begins commercial operation as workers begin the slow process of fueling, starting up and testing the reactor.

It is expected to produce 1,150 megawatts of electricity — enough to power 650,000 homes.

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