published Thursday, May 1st, 2014

NRC issues finding against TVA for Browns Ferry safety violation

  • photo
    Browns Ferry Nuclear Plant in Athens, Ala., is shown from above.
    Photo by Dan Henry /Chattanooga Times Free Press.

Federal regulators cited the Tennessee Valley Authority again today for failing to fully comply with standards for emergency plans at the Browns Ferry Nuclear Plant in Alabama.

The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission staff has issued a white inspection finding to TVA for not maintaining adequate staffing levels for the plant's radiological emergency plan.

The NRC said the violations had low to moderate safety significance and issued an order confirming actions TVA is taking to address associated violations.

TVA modified its emergency staffing from 2010 through 2013 but did not get the required license amendment and regulatory approval, NRC spokesman Roger Hannah said.

Two violations related to the staffing inspection finding involved the failure to provide complete and accurate information on the issue and the failure to request a license amendment for the staffing changes.

“While no actual events occurred, it is important that appropriate staffing is maintained and the NRC approves any changes to staffing levels in a plant’s license,” NRC Atlanta Regional Administrator Victor McCree said in a statement. “We believe the steps TVA has agreed to take appropriately address the issues and minimize the likelihood that similar issues will arise in the future.”

The Browns Ferry Nuclear Plant is already under heightened regulatory review because of other safety violations in the past and the latest citation will not increase that oversight, Hannah said.

The order documents a number of corrective actions taken or planned by TVA. Those actions at the Browns Ferry site and TVA’s other two nuclear plants include new procedures for submitting license information to the NRC and for verifying changes and compliance, reviews of the processes involved and a sharing of the information with other nuclear plant operators.

There was no fine involved in the NRC action.

about Dave Flessner...

Dave Flessner is the business editor for the Times Free Press. A journalist for 35 years, Dave has been business editor and projects editor for the Chattanooga Times Free Press, city editor for The Chattanooga Times, business and county reporter for the Chattanooga Times, correspondent for the Lansing State Journal and Ingham County News in Michigan, staff writer for the Hastings Daily Tribune in Nebraska, and news director for WCBN-FM in Michigan. Dave, a native ...

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