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TVA investigates gun found at Browns Ferry Nuclear Plant

Browns Ferry Nuclear Plant (file photo: nrc.gov)

LIMESTONE COUNTY, Ala. – Officials confirmed that a contractor working at Browns Ferry Nuclear Plant brought a handgun to the plant on Thursday.

According to our news partners at AL.com, the Tennessee Valley Authority heightened security at all three of its nuclear plants due to the incident and armed guards are posted at the entrance of Browns Ferry.

TVA spokesman Jim Hopson confirmed that Browns Ferry was placed under an “unusual event,” which is the lowest of four emergency classifications, from 12:30 p.m. until 3 p.m. Thursday.

Hopson said the contractor had his nuclear clearance revoked, was escorted from the plant and is no longer working at the plant.

A loaded derringer was discovered by nuclear security and was not on the contractor when it was found.

“There was no danger to the public and no danger to employees,” Hopson said. “But, obviously, this is a big thing – having a weapon inside of a nuclear plant is not something that we take lightly. There’s a fairly significant investigation ongoing.”

No charges have been brought against the contractor for bringing the gun to the nuclear plant at this time. The findings of the investigation will be turned over to the U.S. attorney’s office for consideration of any charges.

Having a firearm at a nuclear plant is considered a federal crime.

“We have taken compensatory action with our security team at not only Browns Ferry but our other nuclear sites as well until we can complete our investigation and figure out how he was able to get this weapon into the plant,” Hopson said.

“Obviously, this is a very serious situation in our mind,” Hopson said. “And according to federal regulations, as well.”