TVA

TVA, Wikimedia Commons

TVA’s Shawnee Fossil Plant faces an uncertain future as the Knoxville-based utility company begins retiring coal-powered energy plants.

Yesterday, as part of an ongoing effort to clean up non-renewable energy stations, TVA announced plans to retire 18 of 59 fossil units region-wide by 2018.

At Shawnee, where nine units are coal-based, two units are being looked at for possible closure.

TVA / tva.com

The chairman of the Tennessee Valley Authority has expressed confidence in the organization following a proposal in the 2014 Obama budget last week that suggested a possible sale of the public utility.

At a board meeting Thursday, Bill Sansom said the board welcomes a proposed strategic review of the agency and any suggestions for ways to better serve the people in its seven-state region.

tva.com

A Tennessee nuclear plant that began construction in 1973 is on schedule to open in December 2015. During a conference call Thursday, Tennessee Valley Authority Senior Vice President of Nuclear Construction Mike Skaggs said the Watts Bar 2 plant is on schedule and on budget at a projected cost of between $4 and $4 and a half billion dollars.

The Obama administration's 2014 budget is calling for a strategic review of the Tennessee Valley Authority, opening the possibility the federally owned utility could be sold.

TVA officials seem to have been caught off guard by the budget proposal released Wednesday. Board chairman Bill Sansom says the utility doesn't know what options the review will consider. He promises the board will "continue operating TVA in a sound financial manner" in the meantime. 

Department of Energy

The United States Enrichment Corporation and several other companies have sent proposals to the Department of Energy to continue enriching uranium at the Paducah Gaseous Diffusion Plant. USEC is currently operating at the plant but is scheduled to end its work there May 31. USEC spokesperson Paul Jacobson says the corporation is discussing a several month extension at the plant, but that doesn’t change its statement that the high costs and old technology makes continuing commercial endeavors beyond 2013 difficult.

Dr. Steve White joined Murray State University in 1981 about the same time as the local TVA hacking program was underway. Captive-born eaglets were released into the wild without human contact to repopulate the region whose habitat is preferred by eagles. Eagles stay where they learn to fly and today the resident population is stable and thriving. Dr. White gives the historical perspective.

A Tennessee Valley Authority coal-fired power plant in Muhlenberg County that is undergoing expensive pollution control upgrades has been named a top polluter. The Environmental Integrity Project says the TVA Paradise Fossil Plant near Drakesboro emitted more than 1,500 pounds of arsenic, almost a ton of lead and about 1,400 pounds of chromium in 2011. The plant was ranked third on the group’s metal emissions list, which was compiled from U.S. Environmental Protection Agency data. 

The U.S. Senate has approved four new members of the Tennessee Valley Authority’s board of directors, including west Tennessee native and former Democratic gubernatorial candidate, Mike McWherter.  The Senate has also sent the nominations of Vera Lynn Evans of Tennessee, C. Peter Mahurin of Kentucky and Joe Ritch of Alabama to President Obama’s desk for his signature. 

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A 2011 settlement between the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the Tennessee Valley Authority means 13 Kentucky organizations will receive a total of $11.2 million dollars in grants over five years. The settlement covers allegations that TVA violated the Clean Air Act.

The Tennessee Valley Authority is expected to meet Monday to discuss delegating authority to the utility's new chief executive until it fills several vacancies on its board. The board is made up of nine members and five seats are pending congressional action, including one that's up for reappointment. Congress is set to adjourn this month.

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