Federal utility fined $900K for nuclear violations, coverup

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FILE – In this April 29, 2015 file photo, a boat travels on the Tennessee River near the Watts Bar Nuclear Plant near Spring City, Tenn. Federal regulators are fining the nation’s largest public utility more than $900,000 for violating procedures during the startup of a Tennessee nuclear reactor and subsequently trying to cover up the incident. Two managers and a plant operator at the Tennessee Valley Authority’s Watts Barr Unit 1 reactor in Spring City were also issued violations by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.(AP Photo/Mark Zaleski, File)

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Federal regulators have fined the nation’s largest public utility more than $900,000 for violating procedures during the startup of a Tennessee nuclear reactor and subsequently misleading investigators.

Two managers and a plant operator who worked at the Tennessee Valley Authority’s Watts Barr Nuclear Plant in Spring City were also issued violations by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.

In a Nov. 6 notice, regulators noted a “substantial safety culture issue” at the time of the 2015 incident. The notice says TVA has taken action to address the violations but hasn’t articulated “broad, comprehensive and substantive corrective actions.”

TVA CEO Jeff Lyash says the problems identified by the commission are “problems of the past.”

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