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A collapsed retaining wall spews millions of gallons of fly ash across the Tennessee valley


A disaster that occurred early Monday morning has ruined the holidays for some residents of Knoxville, Tennessee. A retaining wall at the Tennessee Valley Authority's Kingston coal-fired power plant collapsed, spewing 2.6 million cubic yards of fly ash across Tennessee.

According to the TVA, 400 acres of land are submerged 6-feet deep in the toxic substance. The sludge that burst out of the holding pond for power plant waste ripped an entire home from its foundations and flooded 11 other homes in the area. In addition, a train was also heavily damaged.

"Protecting the public, our employees, and the environment is TVA's primary concern as we supply electric power for the people of Tennessee Valley region," said TVA President and CEO Tom Kilgore. "We deeply regret that a retention wall for ash containment at our Kingston Fossil Plant failed, resulting in an ash slide and damage to nearby homes."

Fortunately, no injuries related to the disaster have been reported so far. However, the situation is expected to worsen. Fly ash is a highly toxic substance that contains mercury, lead, and arsenic. A report from last year also states that fly ash is more radioactive than nuclear waste.  

The toxic substance has begun seeping into the Emory River, which means the waste may ultimately end up flowing into the Tennessee River, contaminating ground and surface water. The TVA says that it will continue to sample water downstream for contamination. As a precaution, the TVA has attempted to manage the river flows in order to reduce risk of contamination.

The Kingston power plant generates 10 billion kilowatt-hours of electricity each year. According to the TVA, this powers 670,000 homes. Despite the disaster, the plant is still online and operating.  

Repairs for the disaster will begin immediately, with hundreds of bulldozers, dump trucks and workers already in the area to clear out the debris.

Residents displaced by the disaster have been provided with hotel rooms, food and transportation.  Gas, electricity and water have been restored to homes in the area that did not incur any serious damage.

Aerial footage of the disaster has also been posted on YouTube.



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RE: expect more of this
By creathir on 12/24/2008 7:48:44 PM , Rating: 5
Oh yes, lets blame Bush for the collapse of the retaining wall. I suppose to be accurate, FDR should be blamed, as he setup the TVA.

I suppose you are refering to the bill signed by him (passed by your Democrat controlled congress mind you) to push for more nuclear and clean coal power plants?

What do you propose instead of coal or nuclear power? Wind? Solar? Neither of these can provide the power needed for the cost. Nuclear is the cleanest energy we could possibly use, but people such as yourself slam this energy as being harmful to the environment.

Ironically, you probably typed this message using power from a coal power plant.

Disasters happen. It is life. Wind turbines can explode. Plants that make solar panels can burn. It happens. The best we can do is be there to support those after a disaster, and build again, and move on.

My prayers are with those affected by this particular disaster. I love this area of the United States, and hate to see it ruined, but I do understand that all of those people who live there, would not have jobs if it were not for the power plants of the TVA.

- Creathir


RE: expect more of this
By mindless1 on 12/29/2008 1:24:31 PM , Rating: 2
Hmm. You wrote "Nuclear is the cleanest energy we could possibly use, but people such as yourself slam this energy as being harmful to the environment."

Have you gone mad or is it now sane to introduce an idea others did not express and attribute it to them in order to suit your argument?


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