published Monday, April 22nd, 2013

TVA faces regulator grilling over flood prep

  • TVA prepares nuclear plants for flood threat
    TVA has made improvements to the Sequoyah Nuclear Plant including new conduit seals, water barriers, and elevated diesel fill pipes to help ensure that the ERCW (Essential Raw Cooling Water) and the diesel generator buildings would remain operational in the case of a significant flooding event.

TVA made its case to nuclear regulators today in hopes of resolving six apparent violations from the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.

At issue is whether the Tennessee Valley Authority comes out of the fray over flooding concerns with some of NRC’s color-coded safety findings.

Mistakes and changes in TVA flooding calculations and NRC oversight show that a monster flood could send water two-and-a-half feet higher than expected at Sequoyah Nuclear Plant and at least four feet higher at Watts Bar Nuclear Plant. Such a rise could threaten electric connections for critical reactor cooling equipment.

In citing TVA last month, the NRC suggested that at least three of the violations might also carry yellow safety findings for Watts Bar Nuclear Plant.

Green is a normal good rating, while red, yellow and white signify highest to least safety concerns.

“I think this was a good meeting,” said Don Jernigan, senior vice president of TVA nuclear support services, of Monday’s five-hour meeting with NRC in Atlanta.

NRC officials heard TVA presentations then drilled the utility officials for about an hour with follow-up questions.

TVA now will send NRC replies, and NRC will made a decision in about 30 days, according to NRC spokesman Joey Ledford.

Read more in Tuesday’s Chattanooga Times Free Press.

about Pam Sohn...

Pam Sohn has been reporting or editing Chattanooga news for 25 years. A Walden’s Ridge native, she began her journalism career with a 10-year stint at the Anniston (Ala.) Star. She came to the Chattanooga Times Free Press in 1999 after working at the Chattanooga Times for 14 years. She has been a city editor, Sunday editor, wire editor, projects team leader and assistant lifestyle editor. As a reporter, she also has covered the police, ...

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