NRC looks at TVA Watts Bar 2 issues

 The Nuclear Regulatory Commission staff has scheduled a pre-decisional enforcement conference with Tennessee Valley Authority officials for May 7 to discuss three apparent violations related to the commercial grade dedication program during construction at TVA’s Watts Bar Unit 2. The Watts Bar plant, where one unit has been in operation since 1996, is located near Spring City, Tenn., about 60 miles southwest of Knoxville.

The enforcement conference is scheduled for 1 p.m. in the NRC’s Region II office at

245 Peachtree Center Avenue NE in Atlanta. The conference will be open to the public and the news media, and the NRC staff will be available to answer questions after the business portion of the meeting.

The NRC requires certain components in a nuclear plant to meet strict nuclear quality assurance standards. Commercial grade dedication is a process that provides reasonable assurance that components purchased from a commercial supplier are equivalent to nuclear grade items. This assurance is achieved through documented inspections, tests or analyses.

An NRC inspection conducted in late 2012 and early this year identified three apparent violations related to the Watts Bar Unit 2 commercial grade dedication program. NRC inspectors found an apparent breakdown in the program resulting in construction of unknown quality, an apparent failure to report that breakdown and an apparent failure to identify that issue as a condition affecting quality.

No decision on any final violations or enforcement action will be made at the conference. NRC officials will review information presented by TVA at the conference and reach a decision on appropriate regulatory action at a later date.

The NRC inspection report with details on the Watts Bar 2 commercial grade dedication issue is available on the NRC website.