TVA to improve how it tracks new technology, tighten records security

  • An independent watchdog says TVA needs to improve its operations.
  • The report was issued as TVA races to meet ambitious decarbonization goals.
  • TVA is not consistently tracking technology it adopts, the report says.
  • TVA also is not properly tracking how it saves and secures research and development information.

As the Tennessee Valley Authority pushes to meet its ambitious goals for decarbonization, the authority’s independent watchdog is asking the nation’s largest public power company to bring more discipline to its operations.

Among its key conclusions, the TVA Office of the Inspector General found TVA needs to improve how it chooses and tracks new technologies, such as small modular nuclear reactors, to generate electricity for 10 million people across Tennessee and parts of six other states, as well as industrial and federal facilities.

Additionally, the inspector general warned that TVA is not effectively tracking what research and development records it is creating, and that records are stored on home and shared drives that could be vulnerable to outsiders.

The inspector general’s report, issued Thursday, focused on findings and recommendations, and includes TVA’s response to the report.

The Tennessee Valley Authority says it will implement changes to its technology development process and recordkeeping following a report from its independent watchdog office.

What did the watchdog report recommend?

“Over the past decade, TVA has generally adopted commercially available, mature resource technologies,” says the inspector general’s report. “However, as TVA seeks to integrate new resource technologies, such as small modular reactors, having consistent methods for evaluating new technologies may reduce negative consequences such as cost, increases, schedule delays, or delivering lower capability than expected.”

The inspector general recommends TVA follows a framework promoted by the Office of Government Accountability for adopting new technologies and evaluating their risks and readiness. TVA said it already has a variety of methods in place for evaluation, but agreed to standardize the process to follow the Office of Government Accountability recommendations.

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