June 19 The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission
(NRC) said Wednesday it proposed a $70,000 penalty against
Tennessee Valley Authority for violations related to the use of
commercial grade components during the construction of the Watts
Bar 2 nuclear reactor.
Watts Bar is located near Spring City, Tennessee about 60
miles (97 km) southwest of Knoxville, Tennessee.
The NRC said in a release it requires certain components in
a nuclear plant to meet strict nuclear quality assurance
Companies can use commercial grade components so long as
they put those components through a so-called dedication process
that the NRC said provides reasonable assurance the parts are
equivalent to nuclear grade items.
This assurance is achieved through documented inspections,
tests or analyses, the NRC said.
The NRC said its inspectors in late 2012 and early this year
identified three violations related to the commercial grade
dedication program at the 1,150-megawatt (MW) Watts Bar 2.
TVA, which is owned by the U.S. government, has operated the
1,123-MW Unit 1 at Watts Bar since the reactor entered service
in 1996. TVA expects Unit 2 to enter service in late 2015.
The NRC said its inspectors found a breakdown in the program
resulting in construction of unknown quality, a failure to
report that breakdown and a failure to identify that issue as a
significant condition affecting quality.
In May TVA outlined a number of corrective actions including
a review of all commercial grade dedication documents,
additional staff training and creating a new position to oversee
TVA also continues to test items that have already been
purchased or installed.
The NRC said TVA has 30 days to respond to the violations
and either pay the civil penalty or protest its imposition.