The Kentucky Environmental Foundation will conduct a health impact assessment on the retrofitting or retirement of the Tennessee Valley Authority's Shawnee Fossil Plant near Paducah.
The Kentucky Environmental Foundation is an environmental advocacy group based in Richmond, Ky. with a history of working on chemical weapons issues surrounding the Blue Grass Army Depot. Recently it has become more involved in clean energy and chemical safety. KEF Energy and Health Coordinator Deborah Payne says the assessment comes at a time of change for the Plant and the assessment will be taking that into account.
“Some of the primary concerns that we are already aware of involve air quality, and issues around water quality and waste from the plant," Payne said. "But ther’s also health concerns that are certainly related to employment and jobs. Because we all know that if we can’t get a good job we can’t put a roof over our head and we can’t provide for our family and feed ourselves and have good medical care. These are all going to be concern we assess in the health impact assessment.”
The Shawnee Fossil Plant is a coal-fired power station owned and operated by Tennessee Valley Authority about 10 miles northwest of Paducah on the Ohio River.It has ten coal-fired generating units. TVA states that "the plant consumes some 12,350 tons of coal a day.
Payne said the potential shutdown of the United States Enrichment Corporation's operations at the Paducah Gaseous Diffusion Plant will bring quite a few changes to the Shawnee Fossil Plant, since it is steam plant's largest customer.
The HIA is expected to take around one year to complete, after which KEF will present its findings to the TVA, regional and statewide policy makers.
Payne said although she is not a spokesperson for TVA, from her understanding the TVA does not plan to make any major decisions surrounding the plant in the next 12 months. The study will be in partnership with the Purchase District Health Department in Paducah. PDHD did not comment on this story.