The Environmental Journal of Southern Appalachia

Displaying items by tag: tva bull run

image001.jpg

Citizens call on TVA to stop passing gas

KNOXVILLE — The Tennessee Valley Authority in coming years plans to add both natural gas and solar plants to its portfolio to meet what it says are rising energy demands.

TVA’s Board of Directors laid out the federal utility’s plan in a meeting at Norris Middle School in May. Environmentalists at a previous hearing criticized the utility’s focus on natural gas rather than renewables or other measures. Other people, largely tied to local power providers, argued that a switch to renewable energy would be unreliable.

TVA showed a map in a press release following the meeting, showing four proposed natural gas plants and two proposed solar plants. Two of those natural gas plants would be in Tennessee while the other two are planned for Alabama and Kentucky. It stated these new plants will total 3,800 megawatts. It also spoke of its System Operations Center, set to open in fall 2024 in Georgetown to manage the utility’s grid. TVA also stated a desire to research nuclear technologies.

“Our region is experiencing growth at six times the national average, which means we must invest in our current power system and build new generation so we can continue meeting our region’s demand,” said TVA president and CEO Jeff Lyash.

Several citizens criticized TVA’s focus on natural gas plants and new pipelines at the listening session May 9. Among them was Clinton resident and activist John Todd Waterman.

Published in News

TVA’s Bull Run Fossil Plant — then and nowBull Run Fossil Plant in Claxton, Tennessee, was originally commissioned 55 years ago but TVA is now soliciting public input on the best way to shut down operations. Tennessee Valley Authority

TVA solicits public input following release of environmental assessment for Bull Run Fossil Plant decommission

CLAXTON — Tennessee Valley Authority plans to close its Bull Run Fossil Plant (BRF) in Anderson County, but it’s still looking for public input on what comes next.

“As a large, inflexible coal unit with medium operating costs and a high forced outage rate, BRF does not fit current and likely future portfolio needs,” the federal utility said in a draft Environmental Assessment.

TVA is looking at three different options for the future of the structures still standing on the site by the Clinch River near Oak Ridge: taking down all structures; taking down some of them; or leaving everything standing. A recent report lays out the environmental consequences of each of these actions. The report, in draft form, is against that third choice, listing it as only an option for the sake of comparison.

“If the facility is left in the “as-is” condition, it likely would present a higher risk than Alternatives A or B for the potential to contaminate soil and groundwater as systems and structures degrade. As such, this alternative is not a reasonable alternative,” the draft states.

TVA stated its considering removing “all or most of the buildings and structures” on a 250-acre area. After closing the plant, but before any demolitions, TVA will begin by removing components that may be used at other TVA sites, draining of oil and fluids from equipment, taking ash out of the boilers, removing information technology assets, removing plant records and other tasks.

The Bull Run Environmental Assessment is 170 pages long and available for public review. It doesn’t directly tackle the coal ash storage conundrum that has grabbed the attention of politicians, nearby residents and environmental activists, because that issue involves separate regulations. 

Published in News

bull run 107 hero0196f525 b2ce 46c9 88ad 0f2337a86726

CLAXTON  Even though TVA is about to retire Bull Run Fossil Plant, water pollution issues related to it are still up for debate.

A water discharge permit hearing took place Thursday, Jan. 12 at the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation building, 761 Emory Valley Road in Oak Ridge. 

If you missed the meeting, you can still provide comments by email to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. through Thursday, Jan. 26

The permit would, if approved, allow releases of “cooling water, process wastewater and storm water runoff” from Bull Run Fossil Plant into the Clinch River and operation of a cooling water intake system. Environmental groups have concerns. 

Tennessee Valley Authority plans to retire Bull Run Fossil plant by 2023. Over several years and at meetings, both connected to TVA and organized by activist groups, citizens have voiced concerns about water quality issues due to the continued coal ash waste TVA stores on the site. In advance of this meeting, representatives of the Sierra Club, Southern Environmental Law Center, Appalachian Voices, Statewide Coalition for Community eMpowerment and Center for Biological Diversity all signed a letter asking for TDEC to set standards for water pollution from coal ash based on available technology.

This story will be updated.

Published in News