NRC increases oversight at TVA's Watts Bar nuclear plant

Watts Bar nuclear power plant Tennessee Valley Authority Nuclear Regulatory Commission increases oversight flooding violations

The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) is increasing oversight at the 1,210 MW Watts Bar nuclear power plant in Tennessee after violations of requirements for analyzing and preparing for potential flooding. There was no actual flood event.

Plant owner Tennessee Valley Authority must account for potential flooding in the plant design and emergency procedures. The plant sits on Watts Bar Lake, which is part of the Tennessee River system.

NRC staff held a conference with TVA officials in April to review inspections and information presented by TVA. The NRC staff concluded that the Watts Bar staff would not be able to implement some of their flood mitigation procedures within the time specified. The staff said the plant’s flood mitigation strategy had been inadequate until July 2012 when the plant took corrective measures. That violation was classified as yellow, or a substantial safety significance.

The NRC staff also found that TVA did not establish adequate flood protection for the potential failure of upstream dams, which was classified as a white finding, or one of low to moderate safety significance. The plant was also cited because TVA did not notify NRC within eight hours after discovery that the potential failure of upstream dams and subsequent potential onsite flooding resulted in an unanalyzed condition affecting plant safety.

The NRC will inspect the plant for the yellow and white findings, and TVA must respond in writing with their corrective actions for the reporting violation.

TVA's Sequoyah nuclear power plant will have increased for similar violations.

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