NRC Special Inspection Under Way at Browns Ferry

NRC said on Sept. 24 during routine testing, the unit's high-pressure coolant injection system unexpectedly pumped water into the reactor vessel instead of a storage tank, and TVA later determined that a failed nut on a valve allowed it to remain partially open.

The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission announced it has launched a special inspection into the failure of a high-pressure coolant injection discharge valve inside Unit 3 of the Browns Ferry nuclear plant near Athens, Ala. The power plant is operated by the Tennessee Valley Authority and is located about 32 miles west of Huntsville, Ala.

NRC said on Sept. 24 during routine testing, the unit's high-pressure coolant injection system "unexpectedly pumped water into the reactor vessel instead of a storage tank, and TVA later determined that a failed nut on a valve allowed it to remain partially open. Other plant systems responded as expected, but the valve failure prompted the NRC to begin the special inspection."

The inspection team will review the valve failure and TVA's actions, maintenance practices, and the history of such valves. The on-site portion of the inspection is expected to take several days and a report documenting results of the inspection should be issued within 45 days after it is completed.

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