The Browns Ferry Nuclear Plant is located on the Tennessee River near Decatur and Athens, Alabama, on the north side (right bank) of Wheeler Lake. The nuclear power plant is named after a ferry that operated at the site until the middle of the 20th century. The site has three General Electric boiling water reactor (BWR) nuclear generating units and is owned entirely by the Tennessee Valley Authority. Browns Ferry was TVA's first nuclear power plant; its approval occurred on June 17, 1966 and construction began in September of the same year. At the time of its initial operation, it was the largest nuclear plant in the world. It was the first nuclear plant in the world to generate more than 1 gigawatt of power.
In 2006, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) renewed the licenses for all three reactors, extending them for an additional twenty years.