NRC Sets Nov. 2 Meeting on Watts Bar Work Environment

At the meeting, TVA is expected to provide an update on its corrective actions, and NRC officials will be present to ask and answer questions and discuss the agency's plans to continue to provide oversight on the issue.

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission has scheduled a Nov. 2 public meeting with Tennessee Valley Authority officials to be briefed on the current status and progress of actions to address the "chilled work environment" in the operations department at the Watts Bar nuclear power plant, a plant with two reactors that is located 60 miles southwest of Knoxville, Tenn., and can product 2,300 megawatts of power.

NRC began a review in 2015 of the plant's environment for workers to raise safety issues and have them addressed, and the agency sent a letter in March 2016 about it. The letter said NRC had concluded a chilled working environment existed in the Operations Department "because of a perception that operators are not free to raise safety concerns using all available avenues without fear of retaliation." The letter then said NRC had not identified any serious safety violations or instances involving significant plant safety issues. Still, it said, "The NRC considers it vital for TVA to assess the climate at the Watts Bar station, address the root causes that allowed the chilled work environment to exist, and take steps to ensure the staff at Watts Bar are willing to openly participate in the process."

The meeting is scheduled to begin at 6 p.m. at the Comfort Inn, 2811 Decatur Pike in Athens, Tenn.

At the meeting, TVA is expected to provide an update on its corrective actions, and NRC officials will be present to ask and answer questions and discuss the agency's plans to continue to provide oversight on the issue.

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