TVA Agrees to Browns Ferry Corrective Actions

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission increased inspections after a red inspection finding was issued because of a failure of a low-pressure coolant injection valve in fall 2010.

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission announced Aug. 23 it has outlined 10 actions the Tennessee Valley Authority has agreed to take to ensure "the continued improvement of the utility's Browns Ferry nuclear plant," which is located 32 miles west of Huntsville, Ala. Once TVA has completed them, the federal agency will reevaluate its enhanced oversight that followed a red inspection finding finalized in 2011.

NRC sent a confirmatory action letter to TVA confirming the Tier 1 actions that TVA pledged to complete by Nov. 30 in an Aug. 9 letter to the agency by NRC. "Those actions include improvements in safety culture, the corrective action program, the safety system reliability plan, work management process and a procedure upgrade project," the agency's news release states.

TVA will complete another group of longer-term actions that are focused on "sustained excellent performance and long-term success criteria," and these are scheduled to be completed by May 2014.

"The confirmatory action letter gives TVA a clear set of commitments and expectations and ensures they understand what they must do to continue to safely operate the plant," said Victor McCree, NRC's Region II administrator. "Browns Ferry has improved its safety performance, but it must continue to improve and sustain a high performance level."

The red finding, indicating a significant reduction in safety margin in the area measured by a performance indicator. This one was issued because of a failure of a low-pressure coolant injection valve, part of a system needed during some accident scenarios, at Browns Ferry in fall 2010. The agency said the valve was promptly repaired after its condition was discovered, but a red finding has high safety significance and results in intensive NRC inspection and oversight. A 23-person NRC team performed an intensive supplemental inspection at the plant in May.

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