NRC to discuss Watts Bar ‘chilling effect’ letter

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission staff has scheduled a meeting with Tennessee Valley Authority officials for Tuesday, May 24, to discuss TVA’s response to an NRC “chilling effect” letter issued in March to the Watts Bar nuclear plant.

The plant is located near Spring City, Tenn., about 60 miles southwest of Knoxville.

The NRC had found that some operations employees may not have felt free to raise safety concerns, and some licensed operators may have been unduly influenced and directed by sources external to the control room. That hesitancy to raise concerns is what the NRC calls a chilling effect.

The NRC met with Watts Bar officials on March 22 and issued the letter on March 23. That letter requested a response outlining what TVA is doing to address the concerns.

During the May 24 meeting, the Watts Bar staff plans to brief the NRC on the current status and progress of actions to improve the chilled work environment in the operations department at the plant.

The meeting is scheduled to be held in the NRC’s Region II office at 245 Peachtree Center Avenue NE in Atlanta at 10 a.m.

The public may observe the meeting and NRC officials will be available after the business portion to answer any questions. For people unable to attend, a toll-free teleconference line will be available. Anyone wishing to listen to the meeting should contact Alan Blamey by May 23 at 404-997-4415 or