TVA faces regulator grilling over flood prep

TVA faces regulator grilling over flood prep

April 22nd, 2013 by Pam Sohn in Local - Breaking News

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.