TVA: Public Never in Danger

Spring City, Meigs County (WVLT) - The main point that TVA wants everyone to know this afternoon is that they say there was never an alert and at no time were employees or the public in any danger.

Watts Bar is actually shut down right now for re-fueling and maintenance, but TVA officials say they still have to monitor the plant even when it's closed.

Officials say is was during monitoring the plant this morning, that there were suspicions of a possible water leak in the coolant system.

Here are the details as far as how everything breaks down.

At 5:30 this morning, TEMA says they where contacted by TVA.

At 6:15 a.m., TVA says they began searching for the possible water leak.

After inspecting and not finding a leak

TVA says at 7:35 a.m. The "unusual event" was canceled.

Then at 7:45 am, Meigs County School leaders made the decision to dismiss school to all students who could drive or had parents that could pick them up

At 9:00 a.m., buses arrived to take the rest of the students home.

TVA says they have four emergency classifications that are given to the public, including Meigs County School Systems, and that those classifications state that anytime an "unusual event" is reported, even something that could be as minor as a water leak, an inspection must be done and NRC and local emergency officials must be notified.

Gil Francis with TVA says that "unusual events", such as the one this morning, aren't uncommon.

"Within a plant system there are just many, many pipes that can contain water and other things they've got a cooling system, reactor coolant and they are encased in tubes and popping and if we see something unusual based on monitoring we will investigate, check it out, make sure we don't have a problem," says TVA spokesperson Gil Francis.

Which again is policy, which TVA says they followed this morning.

TEMA is reporting that word of a possible leak started when TVA was pressure testing a line, saying that TVA miscalculated how much water was in that line.

But again, TVA says after an inspection they found there was no leak and at no time was the public ever in any danger.

TVA officials say they simply had to follow procedure they have had for years, the only difference this time, Meigs County Schools took it upon themselves to close.

TVA says they hope to use today as a lesson learned that they need to talk to local folks again about those four classifications and when the public could be in danger.