NRC Launches Special Inspection at Browns Ferry Nuclear Plant

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission said Tuesday it had launched a special inspection into the failure of a high pressure coolant injection discharge valve on Unit 3 of the Browns Ferry nuclear plant.

Brown's Ferry NPPThe Athens Ala. plant, 32 miles west of Huntsville, consisting of three General Electric Type 4 boiling water reactors, is operated by the Tennessee Valley Authority.

During a routine testing on Sept. 24, the regulator said, the high pressure coolant injection system unexpectedly pumped water into the reactor vessel instead of a storage tank. TVA later determined that a failed nut on a valve allowed it to remain partially open.

Other plant systems responded as expected, but the valve failure prompted the NRC to begin the special inspection. The inspection team will review the valve failure and TVA’s actions as well as maintenance practices and the history of such valves.

The on site portion of the inspection is expected to take several days. A report documenting the results of the inspection, as protocol dictates, should be issued within 45 days of the completion of the inspection. 

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