NRC schedules meeting with TVA to discuss supplemental inspections at Browns Ferry nuke

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission staff has scheduled a public meeting for Wednesday, Dec. 5, to discuss the completion of three supplemental inspections for one White inspection finding and two White performance indicators at the Browns Ferry nuclear plant.

The meeting is scheduled for 6 p.m. CST at the Calhoun Community College Aerospace Training Center, 6250 Highway 31 North in Tanner, Ala.

Supplemental inspections, such as the ones to be discussed at the meeting, are added to the NRC’s normal, or baseline, inspection program in response to specific events or declining regulatory performance. One of the inspections at Browns Ferry reviewed TVA’s response to a White inspection finding related to operators and staff not being adequately trained on new shutdown procedures. The two other inspections looked at the response to a White performance indicator caused by Unit 1’s high pressure injection system being out of service more than expected and a White performance indicator related to unplanned shutdowns on Unit 3.

These supplemental inspections were conducted to assure that the causes of the issues were understood, that the extent of condition was identified, and that TVA’s corrective actions were sufficient. The main purpose of the Dec. 5 meeting is to discuss TVA’s performance and corrective actions for these issues, but NRC officials also plan to discuss the current status of the ongoing supplemental inspections for the Red finding issued in 2011.

The NRC evaluates both inspection findings and performance indicators at commercial nuclear power plants with a color-coded system which classifies them as green, white, yellow or red, in increasing order of safety significance. As the significance increases, the NRC increases the level of oversight for that plant. If a plant takes appropriate corrective actions and improves safety performance, the agency returns to its normal, but still extensive, inspection schedule.