The News Courier in Athens, Alabama

July 2, 2013

NRC schedules Browns Ferry safety meeting

From staff reports

— The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission will hold a public meeting to discuss the recently completed inspections performed as a result of a red inspection finding at Browns Ferry Nuclear Plant.

The meeting will be held at 1 p.m. on July 11 at the Calhoun Community College’s Aerospace Training Center, located at 6250 U.S. 31 North in Tanner.

The meeting will begin with a discussion of the safety performance of the three Browns Ferry units during 2012. Due to the red inspection finding issued in May 2011, Browns Ferry continues to receive increased inspection and oversight.

The red finding is associated with the failure of a low-pressure coolant injection valve at the plant in the fall of 2010. That valve is part of a system that would be used for core cooling during certain accident scenarios and its inoperable state could have led to core damage had a series of unlikely events occurred.

Even though the valve was promptly repaired after its condition was discovered, under the NRC’s oversight process a “red” finding has high safety significance and results in intensive NRC inspection and oversight.

The increased oversight process will be discussed during the second portion of the meeting. A 23-person inspection team has spent more than 3,000 total hours reviewing a wide range of programs at the plant, including maintenance, operations, engineering, problem identification and resolution and safety culture as well as management oversight and decision making.

NRC inspectors as well as managers from the NRC’s Region II office in Atlanta will attend the meeting and will be available to answer questions from the public following the business portion of the meeting.

“Although the NRC continually monitors each nuclear plant, we believe it is important to hold annual meetings near each plant to discuss our oversight and answer any questions local residents may have,” said NRC Region II Administrator Victor McCree. “We also want to ensure people get all the information they need about key inspections such as the one just completed at Browns Ferry.”

The annual performance letter for the Browns Ferry plant is available on the NRC website, as is performance information for Browns Ferry Unit 1, Unit 2 and Unit 3.

Members of the public who cannot attend the meeting but are interested in participating by telephone should contact the NRC’s Craig Kontz before the meeting at 404-997-4715 or