Bull Run Fossil Plant

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Bull Run Fossil Plant is a coal-fired power station owned and operated by Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) near Oak Ridge, Tennessee.

The Bull Run power station has a single coal-fired generating units and "net dependable generating capacity" of approximately 870 megawatts. TVA states that "the plant consumes some 7,200 tons of coal a day." Construction of the Bull Run power station commenced in 1962 and was commissioned in 1967. According to the TVA the "plant consumes about 7,300 tons of coal a day."[1]

According to the U.S. EPA, TVA's Bull Run was responsible for nearly 60 percent of Knoxville area's pollutant emissions in 2002, with 41,190 tons of airborne pollutants released that year. In 2008, the plant was upgraded the plant with scrubbers to reduce sulfur dioxide emissions. However, the National Parks Conservation Association (NPCA), Children's Earth Foundation and the Sierra Club are still suing TVA for alleged violations of the Clean Air Act because the scrubbers were not installed according to New Source Review rules of the Clean Air Act when the plant did upgrades in 1988. As of summer 2009, the litigation was still pending.[2]

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Plant Data

TVA at the Crossroads, produced by Southern Alliance for Clean Energy

Emissions Data

  • 2006 CO2 Emissions: 4,625,771 tons
  • 2006 SO2 Emissions: 27,987 tons
  • 2006 SO2 Emissions per MWh:
  • 2006 NOx Emissions: 8,346 tons
  • 2005 Mercury Emissions: 260 lb.

Death and disease attributable to fine particle pollution from Bull Run Fossil Plant

In 2010, Abt Associates issued a study commissioned by the Clean Air Task Force, a nonprofit research and advocacy organization, quantifying the deaths and other health effects attributable to fine particle pollution from coal-fired power plants.[4] Fine particle pollution consists of a complex mixture of soot, heavy metals, sulfur dioxide, and nitrogen oxides. Among these particles, the most dangerous are those less than 2.5 microns in diameter, which are so tiny that they can evade the lung's natural defenses, enter the bloodstream, and be transported to vital organs. Impacts are especially severe among the elderly, children, and those with respiratory disease. The study found that over 13,000 deaths and tens of thousands of cases of chronic bronchitis, acute bronchitis, asthma, congestive heart failure, acute myocardial infarction, dysrhythmia, ischemic heart disease, chronic lung disease, and pneumonia each year are attributable to fine particle pollution from U.S. coal plant emissions. These deaths and illnesses are major examples of coal's external costs, i.e. uncompensated harms inflicted upon the public at large. Low-income and minority populations are disproportionately impacted as well, due to the tendency of companies to avoid locating power plants upwind of affluent communities. To monetize the health impact of fine particle pollution from each coal plant, Abt assigned a value of $7,300,000 to each 2010 mortality, based on a range of government and private studies. Valuations of illnesses ranged from $52 for an asthma episode to $440,000 for a case of chronic bronchitis.[5]

Table 1: Death and disease attributable to fine particle pollution from the Bull Run Fossil Plant

Type of Impact Annual Incidence Valuation
Deaths 21 $160,000,000
Heart attacks 31 $3,400,000
Asthma attacks 340 $18,000
Hospital admissions 16 $360,000
Chronic bronchitis 13 $5,700,000
Asthma ER visits 19 $7,000

Source: "Find Your Risk from Power Plant Pollution," Clean Air Task Force interactive table, accessed February 2011

"High Hazard" Surface Impoundment

In July 2009, TVA reclassified the surface impoundment at Bull Run as having High Hazard Potential. The rating applies to sites at which a dam failure would most likely cause loss of human life, but does not assess of the likelihood of such an event. TVA had originally ranked all of its sites as "low" risk, but revised those rankings two weeks after the EPA released its list of 44 "high hazard" coal ash dumps.[6]

Efforts to expand coal waste site

The Tennessee Valley Authority is facing opposition to a planned buyout within the Claxton community for an expansion of its coal ash storage at the Bull Run Fossil Plant. In the week of July 15, 2011, TVA was sending notices to the owners of 30 properties in the Claxton community of Anderson County, where it wants to buy out about 100 acres for the expanded coal waste storage facility and buffer zone, including a Methodist church, a cemetery, and Anderson County's oldest known building, a cabin that was built around 1799 by Revolutionary War veteran David Hall. TVA Vice President John Kammeyer is asking property owners not to reject the proposal without knowing more about it. The utility's offer to property owners will include buyouts at "fair market values," relocation assistance, and help covering the closing costs of new homes.

After 5.4 million cubic yards of coal sludge spilled from a coal ash holding pond in Kingston in 2008, the utility has decided to close some of its coal-fired power plants and convert the others to dry storage only. Most of the new dry storage will be on land TVA already owns, but at some sites the utility is looking to expand its boundaries, like Bull Run.

TVA has about 18 months of life left in its existing dry-storage area at Bull Run and can get another five years of storage on a 5-acre tract of TVA land next to the steam plant. The utility has looked for other possible sites for the storage of the plant's dried fly ash, bottom ash and gypsum but said it found nothing suitable within a 20-mile radius.[7]

Citizen groups

Articles and Resources

Sources

  1. Tennessee Valley Authority, "Bull Run Fossil Plant", Tennessee Valley Authority website, accessed June 2008.
  2. Tennessee Valley Authority, "TVA's Clean Air Efforts", Charles Maldonado, MetroPulse.com, June 10, 2009.
  3. Energy Information Administration Form 923 for 2009
  4. "The Toll from Coal: An Updated Assessment of Death and Disease from America's Dirtiest Energy Source," Clean Air Task Force, September 2010.
  5. "Technical Support Document for the Powerplant Impact Estimator Software Tool," Prepared for the Clean Air Task Force by Abt Associates, July 2010
  6. Coal waste
  7. "TVA neighbors oppose buyout for coal ash storage" AP, July 15, 2011.

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