Sequoyah Nuclear Plant

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Sequoyah Nuclear Plant
Sequoyah Nuclear Generating Station.jpg
Country United States
Location Hamilton County, near Soddy-Daisy, Tennessee
Coordinates 35°13′35″N 85°5′30″W / 35.22639°N 85.09167°W / 35.22639; -85.09167Coordinates: 35°13′35″N 85°5′30″W / 35.22639°N 85.09167°W / 35.22639; -85.09167
Status Operational
Construction began May 27, 1970 (1970-05-27)
Commission date Unit 1: July 1, 1981
Unit 2: June 1, 1982
Construction cost $3.455 billion (2007 USD)[1]
Owner(s) Tennessee Valley Authority
Operator(s) Tennessee Valley Authority
Nuclear power station
Reactor type PWR
Reactor supplier Westinghouse
Cooling towers 2 × Natural Draft
(supplemental only)
Cooling source Chickamauga Lake
Thermal capacity 2 × 3455 MWth
Power generation
Units operational 2 × 1220 MW
Make and model WH 4-loop (ICECND)
Nameplate capacity 2440 MW
Capacity factor 91.38% (2017)
75.50% (lifetime)
Annual net output 18,227 GWh (2017)
External links
Website Sequoyah Nuclear Plant
Commons Related media on Commons

The Sequoyah Nuclear Plant is a nuclear power plant located on 525 acres (212 ha) located 7 miles (11 km) east of Soddy-Daisy, Tennessee, and 20 miles (32 km) north of Chattanooga, abutting Chickamauga Lake, on the Tennessee River. The facility is owned and operated by the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA).

The plant has two Westinghouse pressurized water reactors. Sequoyah units 1 & 2, as well as their sister plant at Watts Bar, both have ice condenser containment systems. In case of a large loss-of-coolant accident, steam generated by the leak is directed toward borated ice which helps condense the steam creating a lower pressure, allowing for a smaller containment building.


Sequoyah's two units have a winter net dependable capacity of 2,440 megawatts,[2] making Sequoyah the most productive of TVA's three nuclear plants. Sequoyah is the second-most powerful power plant in Tennessee, second only to the Cumberland Fossil Plant northwest of Nashville, but actually generates more power.[3] Following the restart of Brown's Ferry Unit 1, that plant again became most productive at 3,440 MW.

TVA constructed dry cask storage facilities at Sequoyah and purchased special storage containers for the purpose of storing spent nuclear fuel. The storage facilities have been approved by the NRC.[2]


Construction began on Sequoyah on May 27, 1970. Unit 1 was licensed by the NRC on September 17, 1980, and commercial operation began on July 1, 1981.[4][5] Unit 2 was licensed on September 15, 1981 and began operation on June 1, 1982.[6][5] Sequoyah was the first new nuclear plant licensed after the Three Mile Island accident.

On August 22, 1985, Sequoyah was shut down due to safety concerns.[7] An independent contractor hired to analyze the safety systems of the plant had found that TVA lacked documentation proving that all of the plant's safety systems would function properly in the event of an emergency.[8] Brown's Ferry, TVA's only other operating nuclear plant at the time, had been shut down in March 1985, due to safety concerns about a fire ten years earlier, and during this time, TVA was without nuclear power completely.[8] On March 22, 1988, TVA was authorized by the NRC to restart both Sequoyah units.[9] Both reactors returned to service later that year.[10]

The operating license of Sequoyah's Unit 1 was originally set to expire in 2020, and Unit 2's operating license in 2021. In 2015, the NRC renewed the operating license for both units for an additional 20 years.[11]

TVA's Sequoyah operating license was modified in September 2002 to allow TVA to irradiate tritium-producing burnable absorber rods at Sequoyah for the U.S. Department of Energy. The process of irradiating tritium-producing rods produces tritium, which is used in nuclear weapons and for various forms of research into nuclear fusion for commercial power production. TVA began irradiating tritium-producing rods at its Watts Bar Nuclear Plant in 2003. As of February 2007, TVA had no plans to produce tritium at Sequoyah.[2]


Sequoyah was Cherokee, part of the Overhill Cherokee, reportedly born in Tuskegee, a town at the confluence of the Tellico River and Little Tennessee River, upriver of the nuclear power plant. He is known for creating the Cherokee syllabary circa 1820. Many Cherokee sites were flooded during the Tennessee Valley Authority's (TVA) construction of Tellico Dam (1967-1979). Naming the site after a local Native American Indian was considered a small political token to the Cherokee in compensation for the dam-flooding and destruction of their historic sites that TVA required to control flooding on the Tennessee River.

Surrounding population

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission defines two emergency planning zones around nuclear power plants: a plume exposure pathway zone of 10 miles (16 km) radius (concerned primarily with exposure to, and inhalation of, airborne radioactive contamination), and an ingestion pathway zone of about 50 miles (80 km) radius (concerned primarily with ingestion of food and liquid contaminated by radioactivity).[12]

The 2010 U.S. population within 10 miles (16 km) of Sequoyah was 99,664, according to 2010 U.S. Census data analyzed for, an increase of 13.8 percent in a decade.[13] The 2010 U.S. population within 50 miles (80 km) was 1,079,868 (increase of 13.8 percent).[13] Cities within 50 miles include Chattanooga (14 miles to city center).[13]

Seismic risk

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission's estimate of the risk each year of an earthquake intense enough to cause core damage to the reactor at Sequoyah was 1 in 19,608, according to an NRC study published in August 2010.[14][15]

See also


  1. ^ "EIA - State Nuclear Profiles". Retrieved 3 October 2017.
  2. ^ a b c Securities & Exchange Commission filing. Available at
  3. ^ "Tennessee - State Energy Profile". U.S. Energy Information Administration. May 17, 2018. Retrieved 2018-11-02.
  4. ^ "Sequoyah Nuclear Plant, Unit 1". U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission. Retrieved 2019-08-30.
  5. ^ a b "Sequoyah Nuclear Plant". Tennessee Valley Authority. 2018. Retrieved 2019-01-07.
  6. ^ "Sequoyah Nuclear Plant, Unit 2". U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission. Retrieved 2019-08-30.
  7. ^ George, Dan (August 23, 1985). "TVA Completes Shutdown of Sequoyah Plant". The Associated Press. New York City. Retrieved 2019-01-07.
  8. ^ a b "T.V.A. CITING SAFETY, TO SHUT DOWN NUCLEAR PLANT". The New York Times. New York City. August 22, 1985. Retrieved 2019-01-07.
  9. ^ "TVA GETS GREEN LIGHT TO RESTART SEQUOYAH UNIT 2". The Journal of Commerce. Hudson Yards, New York. March 23, 1988. Retrieved 2019-01-07.
  10. ^ Lippman, Thomas W. (April 11, 1990). "FOR TVA, IT'S BACK TO A NUCLEAR FUTURE". The Washington Post. Washington, DC. Retrieved 2019-01-07.
  11. ^
  12. ^ "Backgrounder on Emergency Preparedness at Nuclear Power Plants". Nuclear Regulatory Commission. Retrieved 2019-12-22.
  13. ^ a b c Bill Dedman, "Nuclear neighbors: Population rises near US reactors," NBC News, April 14, 2011 Accessed April 16, 2011.
  14. ^ Bill Dedman, "What are the odds? US nuke plants ranked by quake risk," NBC News, March 17, 2011 Accessed April 19, 2011.
  15. ^ "Archived copy" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2017-05-25. Retrieved 2011-04-19.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)

External links

  • "Sequoyah Nuclear Power Plant, Tennessee". U.S. Department of Energy (DOE). October 10, 2008. Archived from the original on December 12, 2012. Retrieved 2008-11-17.
  • "Sequoyah 1 Pressurized Water Reactor". Operating Nuclear Power Reactors. U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC). February 14, 2008. Retrieved 2008-11-17.
  • "Sequoyah 2 Pressurized Water Reactor". Operating Nuclear Power Reactors. NRC. February 14, 2008. Retrieved 2008-11-17.
  • "George A. Lidberg Jr. and Depression-Era Archaeology in Tennessee". David H. Dye. Southeastern Archaeology. 30 February 2013. Retrieved 2013-03-26. Check date values in: |date= (help)
  • "Flooding in Tennessee". Disasters in Tennessee. Tennessee State Library and Archives. n.d. Retrieved 2013-03-26.
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