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Alabama Nuclear Reactor Will Open Soon

By Associated Press

Knoxville, TN – America's nuclear energy program is being revived at the site of one of its worst accidents.

All signs from regulators and operators point to a startup within days of the Tennessee Valley Authority's Unit 1 reactor at the Browns Ferry Nuclear Plant in Athens -- culminating a five-year, one-point-eight (B) billion dollar restoration.

T-V-A's oldest reactor was the scene of a major fire sparked by a candle three decades ago.

It has been reborn as a modern 1,200-megawatt atomic generator capable of lighting 650-thousand homes.

The reactor is the last of three Browns Ferry units designed in the 1960s, run in the 1970s, idled in the 1980s and revived since the 1990s.

It will be this country's first "new" nuclear generator of the 21st century -- the 104th active commercial reactor.

Though no one has applied to build a new nuclear plant in the U.S. since the 1970s, several are now being planned.

Growing demand for electricity and concern over global climate change are propelling this nuclear renaissance.

The Department of Energy estimates 50 new reactors will be needed by 2030 to keep pace.

(Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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