NRC proposes fine, issues violation notices over Watts Bar-1 incident

November 10, 2020, 3:04PMNuclear News

Watts Bar. Photo: TVA

One week after issuing a six-figure civil penalty to the Tennessee Valley Authority for violating Nuclear Regulatory Commission rules involving employee protection, the NRC has proposed penalties totaling more than $900,000 on TVA for a 2015 incident at the utility’s two-unit Watts Bar nuclear plant, located near Spring City, Tenn.

The NRC also has issued violations to two managers and a reactor operator for their roles in the incident.

The enforcement actions are the result of an NRC investigation—initiated in August 2016 and completed in May of last year—into events that occurred during and after the startup of Watts Bar-1 following a maintenance outage in November 2015.

TVA fined over employee protection violations

November 9, 2020, 7:03AMNuclear News

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission on October 29 imposed a civil penalty of $606,942 on the Tennessee Valley Authority for violating the agency’s rules involving employee protection, after proposing the fine and issuing four related violation notices in August.

Following investigations completed in October 2019 and January 2020, the NRC concluded that two former TVA employees had been subjected to reprisals for raising concerns regarding a chilled work environment.

In a November 4 Federal Register notice, the NRC notes that TVA responded to the proposed fine on September 23, denying all four violations and arguing (unsuccessfully) that “if the NRC continues to believe that the violations occurred, then at a minimum the NRC should reduce the severity level of the alleged violations and commensurately reduce the civil penalty.”