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U.S. Nuclear Reactors

Browns Ferry Unit 1

Decatur, Alabama
Local population: 34,794 (10-mile radius)


Boiling Water Reactor


Licensed to operate from 12/20/73-12/20/33


Tennessee Valley Authority

Safety Issues:

Elevated Spent Fuel Pool, Fire Protection Problems, Flooding Hazard, Groundwater Leaks Reported, Heightened NRC Attention, Year Plus Outages

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Related Links & Documents

12/05/2012  An All Things Nuclear blog post commended the owner for upgrading the emergency sirens used to warn the public in event of an accident.

11/22/2012  Fission Stories #134 explained how valves that failed performance tests were accepted any way, only to be later found to have been installed backwards.

05/18/2012  Fission Stories #98chronicled the NRC’s granting another year for the owner to try to achieve compliance with federal fire protection regulations – “requirements” enacted by the NRC way back in 1980 following a fire at Browns Ferry.

01/1978  Fission Stories #69 described how a rubber shoe cover falling into the reactor vessel delayed restart by nearly three weeks with an associated cost of nearly $10 million.

04/01/2011  Fission Stories #44 chronicles the reactor’s fall and rise and fall: shut down in March 1985 after being graded by the NRC as one of the worst reactors in the country; restarting in February 2007 and within a few short years again earning the NRC’s lowest grades.

09/18/2006  UCS documented the factors leading to the decade-plus reactor outage that began in March 1985 in this case study for our Walking a Nuclear Tightrope report.  See details | Download the pdf

04/24/1983  Fission Stories #34 explains how different ways of looking at maps led to workers offloading 130 irradiated fuel bundles from the reactor core into an unqualified and unapproved storage rack in the spent fuel pool.

03/22/1975  Fission Stories #16 explains how a worker using a candle to search for air leaks in the room directly below the control room started a fire that disabled all of the emergency core cooling systems for Unit 1 and most of those systems for Unit 2.