NRC issues finding against TVA for Browns Ferry safety violation

NRC issues finding against TVA for Browns Ferry safety violation

May 1st, 2014 by Dave Flessner in Business Around the Region

Browns Ferry Nuclear Plant in Athens, Ala., is shown from above.

Browns Ferry Nuclear Plant in Athens, Ala., is...

Photo by Dan Henry /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.