TVA pays $552,488 severance to outgoing chief

TVA pays $552,488 severance to outgoing chief

July 13th, 2013 by Dave Flessner in Business Around the Region

Preston Swafford, chief nuclear officer and executive vice president of TVA's Nuclear Power Group

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TVA nuclear chief Preston Swafford will be paid an extra $552,488 as severance for leaving the federal utility by October.

In a Securities and Exchange filing Friday, the Tennessee Valley Authority said Swafford's resignation is considered "an approved termination" and he will also be eligible for executive bonuses and incentive awards paid to top managers this year.

Swafford, 53, announced this week he will retire from TVA by October. He is being replaced by Joseph P. Grimes, an executive with Exelon Nuclear.

Grimes, who has worked in the utility industry for 30 years, is scheduled to start work with TVA around Labor Day. In a statement this week, TVA Chief Generation Officer Charles "Chip" Pardee, also a former Exelon executive, said Grimes is the right person to lead TVA's nuclear division.

Swafford also was hired by TVA from Exelon in 2006 and was paid $2.3 million in fiscal 2012 as TVA's executive vice president in charge of running TVA's three operating nuclear plants. But during his tenure, TVA's biggest nuclear plant, Browns Ferry, was red flagged for failing to detect problems in a key safety system valve.

The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission on Thursday said TVA has made significant progress at Browns Ferry but not enough yet to lift its "red" finding against TVA.

Contact Dave Flessner at dflessner@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6340.