Vice President for Economic Development Doug Berry said the county has a very unique industrial and manufacturing base “and we in the community are very fortunate to have you here and blessing us daily with these opportunities presented to our citizens.”
He also recognized “the many volunteers and elected officials who work so hard to make Cleveland and Bradley County one of the best places in the country to live. We’ve been very fortunate with our investments. This community has enjoyed over $2.4 billion in investment by industry over the last three years. I think that is unmatched in this state as well as most of the country. The good news is $400 million of that came from our existing industry base.”
Existing Industry Programs Director Lisa Pickel said the manufacturing and distribution companies such as Amazon, Coca-Cola Refreshments, Cormetech, Derby Supply Chain Solutions, Eaton Electrical, Eaton Hydraulics, Exel, Flowers Bakery, Lonza, Manufacturers Chemicals, Mueller Company, MurMaid Mattress, Olin, United Knitting and Wacker Polysilicon represent 3,250 employees as well as 463 cumulative years in operation.
Guest speaker Raymond Hruby Jr., general manager of Technical Services at the Tennessee Valley Authority’s Watts Bar Unit 2, gave an overview of why nuclear energy still makes sense.
The speaker is a graduate of Penn State University and the University of Michigan’s Management of Managers Program. He has about 30 years of nuclear experience. His career began as an engineer with Duquesne Light Company. He next served as engineering lead for the successful restart of Beaver Valley Unit I and Unit 2 from extended shutdowns. He received a senior reactor operator license at Beaver Valley. He joined TVA in 2010 as general manager of the Bellefonte project.
Hruby said TVA’s goal is to be one of the country’s leading providers of low-cost energy by the year 2020 and outlined six pillars of the overall vision. Those are low rates, high reliability, responsibility, cleaner air, more nuclear energy and greater energy efficiency. Nuclear power is a key component in achieving each of the goals.
Hruby said TVA had plans in the late 1960s to build 17 nuclear plants. At the same time, there were about 300 other nuclear plants either planned or under construction. Most of the plants were never built because of the downturn in the economy in the 1970s.
“The TVA significantly scaled back its nuclear ambitions,” he said.
The utility generates about 30 percent of its power supply at Browns Ferry, near Athens, Ala.; Sequoyah, in Soddy-Daisy, and Watts Bar, near Spring City. Watts Bar Unit 2 is currently under construction.
“Watts Bar Unit 1 was the last nuclear power plant constructed in this country in the last century and we expect for Watts Bar Unit 2 to be the first nuclear power plant to be built in the country in this century,” he said. “Watts Bar is our highest priority plant.”
Hruby said TVA has decided it will build only one plant at a time. For that reason, Bellefonte Unit 1 will not go into the construction phase until Watts Bar is finished. It is scheduled to go online near the end of 2015.
Although the TVA is a federal agency, its source of income is through the production and sale of electricity to more than 9 million people in seven states covering an area of more than 80,000 square miles. In 2011, the utility’s income was about $12 billion. It is also tasked with economic development, flood control and recreational development.