Changes to TVA's whistleblower program draw fire from critics

The Tennessee Valley Authority building (TVA) is lit Wednesday, Nov. 2, 2016.

The Tennessee Valley Authority is implementing a new and more focused way for employees in the nuclear power program to voice their safety concerns which TVA officials hope will remove the federal utility from the regulatory watch list for having a "chilled" work environment by the end of the year.

TVA Nuclear Chief Timothy Rausch said the new employee concerns program is designed to be more proactive in identifying and addressing safety concerns by TVA workers than the previous program, which Rausch said employee surveys, internal audits and outside regulators had criticized for "inconsistent performance."

"The previous program, at times, has been reactive and waited for issues to come to us versus our desired environment where we are proactively identifying issues at early signs of decline and then striving to fully address them," Rausch said in an interview with the Times Free Press Thursday.