The first nuclear power station in 20 years, Watts Bar 2, and was connected to the grid on June 3. Watts Bar 2, built by the , is expected to output 1,150 megawatts when it begins commercial output later this summer. Currently it's undergoing final testing, slowly ramping up its power output to make sure that all systems are functioning correctly.
Watts Bar 2 marks the first nuclear plant to come online in the US since its sister site, Watts Bar 1, began operation in 1996. Since the 90's, increased safety regulations, especially after the Fukushima disaster in 2011, have prevented other plants from finishing construction until Watts Bar 2 this month.
Four other new plants are expected to come online in the next few years: Vogtle Electric Generating Plant Units 3 and 4 in Georgia, and Virgil C. Summer Nuclear Generating Station Units 2 and 3 in South Carolina. Together, these four plants are expected to add 4,540 MW of power to the grid.
Construction of Watts Bar 2 began in 1973, giving it the longest development of any nuclear reactor in the US. Construction was suspended in 1985 when energy prices fell too low, and resumed in 2007. Since then, construction of the plant has been plagued by delays and budget overruns. Initially the plant was scheduled to be completed in 2013, but was then pushed back until 2015 before it was finally completed this month. The project also cost over $2 billion more than expected, for a total cost of $4.7 billion. During the 20 years that Watts Bar 2 fizzled, China has built 7 new nuclear power plants.