Major Review at Browns Ferry Nuke

Wednesday, May 15, 2013 @ 05:05 PM gHale

A major inspection is going on this week at the Browns Ferry Nuclear Plant near Athens, AL.

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) was at the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) installation starting Monday.

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The review relates to serious safety violations revealed at the plant’s Unit 1 reactor in 2011.

Regulators cited the plant with a major safety violation after workers failed to detect a faulty valve in a cooling system. NRC officials said the problem revealed inadequate safety procedures at the plant.

The inspection this week is the final big step toward Browns Ferry coming out from under increased oversight linked to the problem.

All three Browns Ferry reactors are under increased scrutiny by the NRC. Unit 1 is operating under a “red” finding, the most severe safety rating short of a mandatory shutdown.

Along those lines, from Aug. 17 to Sept. 15 last year, earthquake monitoring equipment at Browns Ferry Nuclear Plant was not working, according to a report TVA filed with the NRC.

TVA reported the malfunction could have hampered Browns Ferry’s ability to declare and respond to an earthquake, “because the declarations would be based on personnel feeling an earthquake.”

The unavailability of the seismic monitoring instrumentation also could have hampered the Limestone County nuclear plant’s ability to determine whether an earthquake required a shutdown, TVA said in its Sept. 20 report to the NRC.

TVA said as soon as they discovered the problem on Sept. 15, they fixed it.

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