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June 21, 2007

Bush visits nuclear plant

President George W. Bush’s history-making visit to Browns Ferry Nuclear Plant Thursday gave him an opportunity to stump for timely passage of his 2008 energy package.

Joining the celebration for the Browns Ferry’s Unit 1 successful restart after 22 years gave Bush the opportunity to talk about the importance of expanding nuclear power to decrease the nation’s dependence on foreign oil.

Bush is only the fourth sitting president to visit a TVA installation, according to TVA Board Member Skila Harris.

“You know something very good or very bad is happening when a president is coming,” said Harris. “President Roosevelt was the first to come, then President Kennedy, then Jimmy Carter.”

Harris quoted from Kennedy’s address when he visited Muscle Shoals for the 30th anniversary of TVA: “The work of TVA will never be done until the work of our nation is done.”

Harris was part of the three-member TVA board that also included Bill Baxter and Glenn McCullough that made the decision to restart Unit 1, which was taken out of service in 1985.

“You’ve taken a good decision and made it into a great accomplishment,” Harris said in congratulating Browns Ferry employees and support contractors on the five-year, $1.8 billion restart effort.

TVA Board Chairman William Sansom introduced the president to a standing ovation of local and Washington press corps as well as about 200 employees and contractors.

“Unit 1 represents the first nuclear reactor to come online in the United States in more than a decade,” said Bush. “This is a demonstration that one agency can do a job on time and on budget. I believe it is essential that we have a comprehensive energy policy to deal with the challenges of the 21st century, and at the core of that policy must be the expansion of nuclear power.”

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