United States Nuclear Regulatory Commission - Protecting People and the Environment

Recommendations Related to Browns Ferry Fire (NUREG-0050)

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Publication Information

Date Published: February 1976

Report By Special Review Group:
Harold E. Collins
Saul Levine
Warren Minners
Voss A. Moore
Vincent W. Panciera
Karl V. Seyfrit
Stephen H. Hanauer, Chairman

U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission
Washington, DC 20555-0001

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Introduction

On March 22, 1975, a fire was experienced at the Browns Ferry Nuclear Plant near Decatur, Alabama. The Special Review Group was established by the Executive Director for Operations of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) soon after the fire to identify the lessons learned from this event and to make recommendations for the future in the light of these lessons. Unless further developments indicate a need to reconvene the Review Group, its task is considered complete with the publication of this report.

The Review Group's recommendations cover a variety of subjects. The responsibility for implementation of the various recommendations belongs to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission generally, and to appropriate offices within the NRC specifically.

Although recommendations are offered on a variety of specific items where improvements could be useful, the Review Group does not believe that action is needed in every plant in response to each of these comments. The overall objective of the recommendations is to achieve an acceptable degree of protection from fires. A balanced approach must be used in the application of the recommendations to specific facilities, with due consideration for the details of the design and construction of each specific plant.

The Review Group has not duplicated the investigation into the incident conducted by the Office of Inspection and Enforcement or the safety review conducted by the Office of Nuclear Reactor Regulation, both reported elsewhere. However, these reports, as well as input from the Tennessee Valley Authority and other sources, were used by the Review Group in its evaluation.

The Group's recommendations are necessarily based on today's knowledge and understanding. The Browns Ferry Construction Permit was issued in 1966, and its issuance based on the state of knowledge at that time. Similarly, the Operating License review in 1970-72 was based on the technology of that period. Many things that are now deemed evident as a result of the incident and its analysis were not evident previously. The recommendations of the Review Group reflect the increase in knowledge and understanding during recent years.

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