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It Took 42 Years to Finish This Nuclear Power Plant in the U.S.

  • Watts Bar Unit 2 given 40-year operating license by regulator
  • First U.S. atomic reactor authorized in almost two decades
Watts Bar Unit 2. Source: Tennessee Valley Authority

Watts Bar Unit 2. Source: Tennessee Valley Authority

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Forty-two years and counting. That’s how long it’s taken to get America’s latest nuclear reactor up and running.

The stop-start saga behind Unit 2 at the Watts Bar complex near Knoxville, Tennessee, moved a step closer to its conclusion Thursday when the Nuclear Regulatory Commission granted the plant a 40-year operating license.