published Monday, July 8th, 2013

Engineer warns of problems at Alabama nuclear plant

Browns Ferry Nuclear Plant in Athens, Ala., is shown from above.
Browns Ferry Nuclear Plant in Athens, Ala., is shown from above.
Photo by Associated Press /Chattanooga Times Free Press.

ATHENS, Ala. — A Tennessee Valley Authority engineer and federal regulators have warned the largest nuclear plant in Alabama has been operating without a fully functioning failsafe system.

The engineer and regulators have warned problems at Browns Ferry reported by regulators have included that a cooling pump didn’t work and cooling lines sat blocked and unnoticed for years.

A TVA engineer, Joni Johnson, told AL.com mechanical and managerial shortcomings at the nuclear plant on the Tennessee River in Limestone County could have led to a meltdown.

Johnson says she’s speaking out to restore the focus on safety at the plant. The TVA and the Nuclear Regulatory Commission have declined to discuss what they called an ongoing investigation.

But in a recent newsletter Keith Polson, the site’s vice president, said performance had declined.

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