FIRST ON 3: 1st unit shipped from Alstom's Chattanooga factory - WRCBtv.com | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

FIRST ON 3: 1st unit shipped from Alstom's Chattanooga factory

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Photo: ALSTOM Chattanooga Photo: ALSTOM Chattanooga

CHATTANOOGA (WRCB)-- Alstom shipped the first unit to roll off the line at its new factory in Chattanooga Tuesday.

The new production facility is for steam turbines, gas turbines, large turbo-generators and related equipment for the North American fossil fuel and nuclear power generation market.

The first rotor was over 100 tons in size and is part of a nuclear turbine, which was upgraded for a large utility in the midwest.

The upgrade will extend the life of the unit for several decades and allow it to produce more electricity with the same amount of energy, ultimately helping customers and the environment.

Tim Brown, Alstom's communications director for North America, said the company is proud of the entire team that contributed to this milestone and remain optimistic about the future of Chattanooga.

In an interview with our partners at the Times Free Press, Alstom's CEO Stefane Cai who is overseeing the Chattanooga operation, talked about the facility's flexibility.

"It can work on new or existing equipment for existing plants," he said, adding the factory is ramping up operations for natural gas facilities.

Cai said he is "pretty optimistic" for the medium and long-term with hopes the talked-about nuclear power renaissance in the U.S. takes place.

He said the rotor that Alstom produced will help extend the life cycle of the nuclear power plant. The rotor is pushed by pressurized heat and steam to help generate power.

He said the plant continues to work on Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design certification. Also, Alstom is supporting the city in its efforts to extend the Tennessee Riverwalk, Cai told the newspaper.

"We favor the design where it passes the plant on the river," he said.

The new facility is a result from an investment of almost $300 million, which is expected to ultimately create around 350 new jobs.

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