The US nuclear power industry is having a hard time shaking its troubled image. The Nuclear Regulatory Commission is not allowing the Tennessee Valley Authority's Sequoyah plant near Chattanooga to restart pending more personnel training. Thirteen workers there were accidentally showered with radioactive water recently. No ill effects were reported, but the incident was the 260th safety problem cited by the NRC since the plant was licensed a year ago this month. And the Sequoyah plant is considered a showcase.
Private nuclear plants are having problems, too. An NRC inspector recently found a Florida Power & Light Co. reactor operating with no one at the controls. The operator, it turned out, was away getting coffee. Result: an NRC citation.
TVA officials concede that much of the future of nuclear power in the US may depend on the safety record of their system.m