NRC cites TVA for Browns Ferry violations

NRC cites TVA for Browns Ferry violations

August 14th, 2012 by Dave Flessner in Local - Breaking News

The TVA Browns Ferry Nuclear Plant in Athens, Ala.

Photo by Associated Press/Times Free Press.

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission today issued a violation notice to the Tennessee Valley Authority for failing to adequately follow safety procedures during a recent inspection at the Browns Ferry Nuclear Plant in Alabama.

The NRC issued a "white" finding, the lowest of four grades of violations, and will increase its oversight of the two newest units at Browns Ferry, NRC spokesman Roger Hannah said in a statement.

Browns Ferry Unit One is already subject to increased NRC oversight due to an inspection finding discovered in 2010.

"The "white" finding for all three units was based on an NRC inspection that found plant operators and staff would not have been able to satisfactorily perform newly implemented procedures for safe plant shutdown," Hannah said. "The NRC identified procedural adherence deficiencies and determined that operators and staff were not adequately trained on the new procedures."

The NRC evaluates nuclear power plants with a color-coded system which classifies findings as green, white, yellow or red in increasing order of safety significance. A white finding has low to moderate safety significance.

The 2010 inspection finding for Browns Ferry Unit One was "red," meaning it has high safety significance. That unit remains under increased NRC oversight due to the red finding.

In a review meeting last month in Atlanta, TVA informed the NRC that it is revising its procedures, instructing operators and establishing a formal process for procedure changes to ensure that operators are appropriately trained. NRC inspectors will conduct a follow-up inspection to verify that the corrective actions have been effective and address the issue, Hannah said.

Read more in tomorrow's Times Free Press.