UPDATED: 800 to be laid off at TVA's Watts Bar project - WRCBtv.com | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

UPDATED: 800 to be laid off at TVA's Watts Bar project

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Cooling towers at Watts Bar Nuclear Power Plant in Spring City, TN. Cooling towers at Watts Bar Nuclear Power Plant in Spring City, TN.

SPRING CITY, RHEA COUNTY (WRCB) – Eight hundred employees will be laid off at the Watts Bar Unit 2 project.

According to a release from the TVA, the 800 employees will consist of 600 craft workers and 200 support staff.

Most of the employees, according to the statement from the public utility, are contractors with either Bechtel Power or Day & Zimmermann.

"As announced this past summer, the pace of construction at Watts Bar 2 has been slower than originally planned for the aggressive five-year project," said Mike Skaggs, Senior Vice President, Nuclear Generation Development & Construction. "Therefore, TVA has been evaluating the best path forward to efficiently complete the project with a primary focus on safety, quality, and cost. The company is taking a deliberate approach in the review and development of the overall construction and licensing schedule."

 "In addition to reducing the contractor workforce, we also are making changes to TVA's contract with Bechtel Power Corporation as part of the efforts to improve the work performance on Watts Bar Unit 2," said Watts Bar Unit 2 Vice President Dave Stinson.

In recent months, the Watts Barr Unit 2 project has been plagued with controversy.

In January, TVA fired project manager Masoud Bajestani was fired after allegedly sending more than $600,000 to Iran.

In March, an electrical inspector was indicted for falsifying inspection reports. A second contractor was indicted in September for the same reason.

In July, a scathing report released by the Nuclear Regulation Commission slammed both Watts Bar 1 and 2 for numerous safety violations.

The unemployment rate in Rhea County for August, the last month with data available, was 12.8%.

Details as they develop on WRCBtv.com

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