When I say that over-regulation, discord between the NRC and ASME, NIMBY trolls, and congressional oversight cause cost and lead time issues, I don't mean that energy companies are trying to bypass safety regulations to accelerate building - there are literally too many people who don't know enough about nuclear plants in decision-making positions.
True, but on the other hand, I'd argue that Watts Bar 2 is an example of ignoring modern safety standards to accelerate building.
If I took a house that was 80% built in the early 1980s and tried to finish building it today, they'd literally make me tear it down, because it would be essentially impossible to retrofit all of the additional braces inside the walls that are required for earthquake safety, not to mention that the plumbing wouldn't be of a material that's legally allowed to be used now, the electrical wiring probably wouldn't be up to code, and even the foundation might have to be dug out and replaced. Yet they've allowed a forty-year-old nuclear reactor design to be brought online that doesn't come close to meeting modern design standards for things like passive safety.
To be fair, TVA has patched the design to mitigate some of the more serious risks based on lessons learned in Fukushima, but even still, it seems completely insane to me that they were allowed to continue building this reactor instead of being told to tear down everything but the outer shell and start over. IMO, this should have been at least a third-generation reactor, if not a III+, not an ancient second-generation design. At some point, they should stop allowing new reactors to be built using old designs, and for second-generation designs, that cutoff date should have been a couple of decades ago, give or take....