Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) is facing a $145,000 civil penalty for submitting incomplete and inaccurate information to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) that was material in a licensing decision at the Watts Bar nuclear plant.
TVA admitted to the Severity Level III violation but can contest the assessment of the civil penalty through alternative dispute resolution, involving an independent mediator, if it chooses.
An NRC inspection completed on Aug. 1 concluded TVA, on multiple occasions as part of the licensing of Watts Bar Unit 2, and also as part of a license amendment request for Watts Bar Unit 1, submitted incomplete and inaccurate information to the NRC regarding the adequacy of an offsite electric power system.
TVA inaccurately reported to the NRC from July 2010 to January 2015 two common service station transformers could be counted on as qualified sources of offsite power to be used for accident mitigation.
An NRC inspection team identified the transformers lacked adequate capacity to provide power to safety-related equipment in certain accident scenarios.
The federal utility has since taken corrective actions to resolve the problem, said TVA spokesman Jim Hopson, adding the violation did not affect public safety or operations since the off-site power was never required.
The inadequate power service would have been a problem only if plant systems were aligned in an alternative configuration, Hopson said.
“TVA has completed an updated safety analysis and is providing the accurate and complete documentation to the NRC, which confirmed the original issue did not create any negative consequences,” Hopson said in a statement after the NRC issued its penalty notice. “The violation did not result in any negative consequences, and TVA has since instituted corrective actions to prevent a recurrence of the violation.”
TVA began building Watts Bar in 1973 but didn’t complete construction and begin operation of the unit 1 reactor until 1996. The unit 2 reactor was not completed until 2015.
The second reactor at Watts Bar is the last U.S. commercial nuclear unit to go into power service, although Southern Co. is building two more nuclear reactors at its Plant Vogtle in Georgia.