Nuclear Regulatory Commission gives top ratings to Browns Ferry plant

This undated file photo shows the Tennessee Valley Authority's Browns Ferry Nuclear Station near Athens, Ala.

For the second consecutive year, federal regulators have given top ratings for the safety performance at TVA's Browns Ferry Nuclear Power Plant in Alabama.

The three-unit plant, which moved into the top rating in all safety areas in mid 2014, got another favorable assessment from the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission for the 2015 results, according to an NRC letter released today.

Alan Blamey, chief of the reactor projects for the NRC, said regulators "determined that overall, Browns Ferry Units 1, 2, and 3 operated in a manner that preserved public health and safety and met all cornerstone objectives."

Blamey told TVA officials that NRC's evaluation "indicated that your performance was within the nominal, expected range."

As a result of the assessment, the NRC plans to continue only its baseline inspections at Browns Ferry, as opposed to the heightened inspections done when the plant was judged not to be performing as well three years ago.

NRC will discuss the results of its yearly assessment of Browns Ferry during an open house from 6-7 p.m. next Tuesday, April 19 at the Aerospace Training Center Lecture Hall at the John C. Calhoun State Community College in Tanner, Ala.

Browns Ferry, located near Athens, Ala., is TVA's oldest and largest nuclear power plant capable of generating 3,297 megawatts of power, or 10 percent of TVA's total load.