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  #11  
Old 12-27-2008, 10:20 AM
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The low cost of coal is what provides the low cost electricity for our computers and internet access. Blue gem coal (from E TN and SE KY) is used in the production of semi-conductors used in our computers. While this is a terrible environmental tragedy, it will be monitored and it will be cleaned up. Without the use of coal and the resulting low cost electricity, much of the economy in the south and southeastern US would be non-existent. Just my two cents worth and no, I don't work in coal or TVA.
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  #12  
Old 12-27-2008, 10:47 AM
roberts618 roberts618 is offline
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Default Sludge Spill in Eastern TN

Since almost all power plants that I can think of are built near a river or a source of moving water, I wonder how many other time bomb dams are out there like this one?

Given that Congress is on break and theie are only minor elections next year, we probably won't hear from anyone in the political world regarding this. Has anyone heard anything from Al Gore on this one?

I also wonder how this would have been received / covered if it occurred on a cold-water river resource and these were dead trout in the photos?
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  #13  
Old 12-27-2008, 10:55 AM
roberts618 roberts618 is offline
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First two paragraphs from NY Times article on the spill--

A coal ash spill in eastern Tennessee that experts were already calling the largest environmental disaster of its kind in the United States is more than three times larger than initially estimated, according to an updated survey by the Tennessee Valley Authority.


Officials at the TVA initially said that about 1.7 million cubic yards of wet coal ash had spilled when the earthen retaining wall of an ash pond at Kingston Fossil Plant, about 40 miles west of Knoxville, gave way on Monday. But on Thursday they released the results of an aerial survey that showed the actual amount was 5.4 million cubic yards, or enough to flood more than 3,000 acres 1 foot deep.

http://www.kentucky.com/181/story/638848.html
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  #14  
Old 12-27-2008, 10:59 AM
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"I also wonder how this would have been received / covered if it occurred on a cold-water river resource and these were dead trout in the photos?" The power plants I have seen in ID, WY and MT are not directly on the water sources, but the power companies have constructed channels from the main source of water to their power plants. This could be the reason they have not had the problems like the most recent occurrence.
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  #15  
Old 12-27-2008, 01:29 PM
snaildarter snaildarter is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kytroutman View Post
The low cost of coal is what provides the low cost electricity for our computers and internet access. Blue gem coal (from E TN and SE KY) is used in the production of semi-conductors used in our computers. While this is a terrible environmental tragedy, it will be monitored and it will be cleaned up. Without the use of coal and the resulting low cost electricity, much of the economy in the south and southeastern US would be non-existent. Just my two cents worth and no, I don't work in coal or TVA.
I think there is truth to what you say. But other economies in other states get by fine without coal. And the amount of coal used in the production of semiconductors is quite negligible when compared with the amounts used in power generation.

As we lose blue collar jobs to poor people overseas (Chinese) the pressure to race to the bottom will continue. Some folks around here will claim our environmental restrictions are already too strong (which is why Bush fought hard to roll back decades-old environmental restrictions on coal plants), and then claim that we'll need to mirror the Chinese with their nearly absent environmental laws, so we can be just like them.

This controversy comes from 2 opposing world views. Your view can be that we should push economic growth as fast as possible and to heck with the consequences (China), or you can have a slow growth economy, but with a healthier and happier people (Europe). America is somewhere between those, which is good enough I guess. I'd prefer that we spend more money on clean things, and less on our McMansions and Hummers.
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  #16  
Old 12-27-2008, 01:42 PM
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snail, what most people don't know, the power generated in coal producing states does not supply just those states. Eastern MT for example, provides the electricity to the Pacific NW to the upper Mississippi basin and south to TX. TVA power directly supplies the majority of the South and is resold on the grid to parts of the northeast. PA supplies OH to DC and the rest of the northeast.
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  #17  
Old 12-27-2008, 01:46 PM
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From Robert's article, I see that the spill has morphed from simply the largest of its kind to three times what we used to think was the largest of its kind.

And I also read that there is plenty of lead and thallium in the water. But again, those are filtered out of the drinking water, so it's just the animals, plants, and soils that have to absorb that gunk.

From the article, "Neither the TVA nor the EPA has released the results of tests of soil or the ash itself." How surprising. Need to wait for the public furor (what little there has been) to die down for a few weeks before releasing that data, I guess.

Also from the article:
---
Some nearby residents said that the TVA had done little to address their concerns.
"We're terribly frustrated," said Donald Smith, 58, a laboratory facilities manager who lives in the area. "It seems like TVA is just throwing darts at the problem, and they don't have a clue how to really fix it. It was nice that they came by to talk to us. They're making an effort. But what upsets me is they didn't have a plan in place. Why hadn't anybody thought, 'What happens if this thing bursts?' "
Residents said they were stunned by the new figures for the size of the spill.
"That's scary to know that they can be off by that much," said Angela Spurgeon, whose dock and yard are swamped with ash.
TVA officials offered little explanation for the discrepancy, saying the initial number was an estimate based on their information at the time.

---
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  #18  
Old 12-27-2008, 01:59 PM
snaildarter snaildarter is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kytroutman View Post
snail, what most people don't know, the power generated in coal producing states does not supply just those states. Eastern MT for example, provides the electricity to the Pacific NW to the upper Mississippi basin and south to TX. TVA power directly supplies the majority of the South and is resold on the grid to parts of the northeast. PA supplies OH to DC and the rest of the northeast.
Yes, you are right. About half of all power produced in America comes from coal. Along with 59% of total U.S. sulfur dioxide pollution (acid rain), 18% of total nitrogen oxides, 50% of total particle pollution, 40% of carbon dioxide pollution. As well as the largest mercury polluter and the largest overall air polluter generally.

The bottom line is always money, right now (not even money long-term, which again, makes coal look a lot uglier). If we Americans, the richest people in the history of the world, don't find good enough reasons to do something about coal now, then we never will. We will always find excuses to use the cheapest, dirtiest energy no matter how rich we get.
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  #19  
Old 12-28-2008, 08:12 PM
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SnailDarter,
With a name like that I can't resist.......don't worry, TVA will gladly give those folks $263 per acre of the land they lost, just like they did when they stole the Tellico area. Maybe not, now they don't have Jimmy C. to overturn the Wild and Scenic River Act in order to do it!

Where is Al Gore when you need him most, and in his own state!? Oh, I forgot he's not running for president..

On a serious note. I have been down at the KSP fishing when the coal cars come in, an move at 3mph dumping coal to burn. It is amazing. There are two sides to this story. Cheap, toxic source that does destroy mountains, rivers, and truly only kills out generations of the workers either immediately or through long term diseases. However, with this country fuel/energy starved, coal is cheap. TVA only generates 20% hydro, and the rest is mostly coal with some nuclear thrown in. I agreed with McCain on this one.....if the French can go mostly nuclear and do it safely, why can't we?
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Last edited by Flat Fly n; 12-28-2008 at 08:43 PM..
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  #20  
Old 12-29-2008, 02:56 AM
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Originally Posted by Speckleman5 View Post
I feel sorry for the people whose homes and property was damaged. Puts a damper on their holiday spirit I am sure.

Good point Speckleman! I think we sometimes tend to look at these types of events from nothing more than the environmental impact they have. I'm sure some of these people lost everything they had. Does anyone know if some type of fund has been set up for the victims? Very sad any time of year
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