The News Courier in Athens, Alabama

Local News

April 29, 2011

BREAKING: NRC monitors Browns Ferry Nuclear Plant after storms knock out power

'Unusual event' declared

ATHENS —

From a press release issued late Thursday:

The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission staff is monitoring the situation at the Browns Ferry nuclear power plant after the site lost offsite power early Wednesday evening due  to severe storms that damaged power lines in the area.

The NRC is monitoring the event through the NRC resident inspectors at the site and in the Atlanta regional office.  The plant is operated by the Tennessee Valley Authority near Athens, Ala., about 32 miles west of Huntsville.

The three units at the Browns Ferry plant automatically shut down after losing offsite power Wednesday evening. One of the plant's diesel generators was out of service for maintenance, but the other seven started to power the units’ emergency loads.  Plant operators and TVA line crews are working to restore offsite power to all three units.  Safety systems have operated as needed.

TVA officially officially notified the NRC of the situation soon after it happened, but the agency's senior resident inspector was in one of the plant's control rooms when power was lost. He was able to observe plant activities as well as provide status reports to the NRC staff manning the incident response center in Atlanta.  TVA declared an unusual event, the lowest of the four NRC emergency classification levels, just after 6 p.m. EDT.

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