TVA Nuke Plants Raise Safety Concerns

CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. (AP) — Two of the Tennessee Valley Authority’s six nuclear reactors have been flagged for safety concerns by the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission.
The NRC’s annual assessment was released last week. The Chattanooga Times Free Press reports ( it gave the Browns Ferry Unit 1 reactor in Athens, Ala., a red rating for the most serious category of safety issues. Red ratings have been issued only five times in the past.
The Sequoyah Unit 1 reactor received a white rating, meaning the plant needs to resolve one or two items of low safety significance.
In December, a third TVA reactor, Watts Bar Unit 1, near Spring City, received a white rating for security issues that the NRC has declined to make public.
Of the nation’s 104 operating commercial reactors, the NRC found that 88 fully met all safety objectives.
“As a fleet they (the TVA reactors) have some issues they need to work to correct,” NRC spokesman Joey Ledford said. “We believe they are working to correct these issues, and the additional oversight that these plants are receiving should help.”
TVA spokesman Ray Golden said the utility’s goal is to have all six reactors rated as top-performing plants but admitted there is still significant work to be done.
Browns Ferry’s red rating stems from a reactor-core cooling valve failure in October.
NRC officials found the valve may have been inoperable for 18 months and said TVA would have detected the problem much sooner with better testing and maintenance.
The white rating at the Sequoyah plant, in Soddy Daisy, comes because the reactor had five unplanned shutdowns in less than a year.
All nuclear plants are inspected daily by the NRC, but the annual assessment gives the public a regular report card on the facilities.

Leave a Reply