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TVA is hoping to cut its work force by encouraging employees to retire early or resign. The plan would save $500 million a year in operating costs.

The nation's largest public utility hopes the move will keep rates in line with other utilities.

TVA officials say it's a move to avoid major layoffs later this year when they close more coal plants and limit operations.

The utility is offering severance packages to some non-nuclear employees who have been with the company for at least a year.