NRC Schedules Conference To Discuss Flood-Related Inspection Findings At Watts Bar And Sequoyah Nuclear Plants

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission staff has scheduled a conference with the Tennessee Valley Authority to discuss the risk significance of several NRC inspection findings and associated apparent violations related to the way TVA has analyzed and prepared for flooding at its Watts Bar and Sequoyah nuclear power plants.

The Watts Bar plant, which has one operating reactor and another completing construction, is near Spring City, Tn., about 60 miles southwest of Knoxville. The two-unit Sequoyah plant is located near Soddy Daisy, about 16 miles northeast of Chattanooga.

The conference is scheduled for April 22, at 8 a.m. in the Marriott Marquis Hotel, Room A601, 265 Peachtree Center Ave. NE, in Atlanta.  The public is invited to attend the meeting and NRC officials will be available to answer questions.

NRC and TVA officials will discuss the safety significance of three findings at Watts Bar and two at Sequoyah. Two of the Watts Bar findings and one at Sequoyah have preliminarily been classified as yellow, meaning they have substantial safety significance.

The third finding at Watts Bar has preliminarily been classified as white or low-to-moderate safety significance. The second finding at Sequoyah is classified as greater than green until the final determination has been made. The NRC evaluates regulatory performance at commercial nuclear power plants with a color-coded system which classifies findings as green, white, yellow or red in increasing order of safety significance.

Each plant also has an apparent violation for the failure to report an unanalyzed condition related to external flooding. Those violations are being reviewed under the NRC’s traditional enforcement policies.

No decision on the final safety significance or any possible enforcement action will be made at the conference. Those decisions will be made and the results will be announced by NRC officials at a later time.

The NRC inspection report for the issues at Watts Bar and two inspection reports discussing the issues at Sequoyah, issued March 12 and March 18, can be found on the NRC website. 


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