1300 Fly Coal Ash Dumps around the Country and More
Originally posted 2009-01-08 03:30:12 -1000 - bumped by roxy
"The coal ash pond that ruptured and sent a billion gallons of toxic sludge across 300 acres of East Tennessee last month was only one of more than 1,300 similar dumps across the United States — most of them unregulated and unmonitored — that contain billions more gallons of fly ash and other byproducts of burning coal.
"Like the one in Tennessee, most of these dumps, which reach up to 1,500 acres, contain heavy metals like arsenic, lead, mercury and selenium, which are considered by the Environmental Protection Agency to be a threat to water supplies and human health. Yet they are not subject to any federal regulation, which experts say could have prevented the spill, and there is little monitoring of their effects on the surrounding environment.
"In fact, coal ash is used throughout the country for construction fill, mine reclamation and other “beneficial uses.” In 2007, according to a coal industry estimate, 50 tons of fly ash even went to agricultural uses, like improving soil’s ability to hold water, despite a 1999 E.P.A. warning about high levels of arsenic. The industry has promoted the reuse of coal combustion products because of the growing amount of them being produced each year — 131 million tons in 2007, up from less than 90 million tons in 1990."
This stuff is all over the place and there's no regulation on it. All of these sites should be considered "superfund sites". Shall we petition the new EPA Administrator,Lisa Jackson, with our concerns?
Furthermore, I've heard that such sites as Brown's Ferry, that is a nuclear power site has similar holding tanks for their nuclear wastes, and it is also managed by the TVA.
"(Source: The Decatur Daily)By The Decatur Daily, Ala.
Jan. 2--Anyone who thinks a worse environmental disaster than the TVA's spill of 5.4 million cubic yards of fly ash and muck is hard to imagine, needs to think again.
The Tennessee Valley Authority also runs Browns Ferry Nuclear Plant.
The Dec. 26 spill unleashed enough sludge into the Emory and Clinch Rivers in Tennessee to fill 1,660 Olympic-size swimming pools.
The coal sludge covered more than 300 acres after a wall breached at a retention site at the TVA plant, about 40 miles east of Knoxville.
Included in the toxic mess: arsenic, lead, barium, chromium, uranium and thorium.
The spill has forced Decatur Utilities, 200 miles downstream, to begin testing drinking water for the chemicals.
So the spill was plenty bad. Had it understood the risk, TVA would no doubt have done just about anything to protect against it.
And that, of course, is the more frightening problem.
Tennessee Valley residents trust the TVA to protect them from nuclear power plants. The destructive potential of Browns Ferry dwarfs that of a Kingston, Tenn., sludge pond.
In 2006, the National Academy of Sciences released a report in which numerous experts expressed serious concerns about the design of Browns Ferry, which has above-ground pools to store spent fuel. The above-ground pools are more vulnerable to terrorist attacks and earthquakes, the experts said, and a breach could cause a massive and sudden loss of the water that prevents the stored radioactive material from an uncontrollable chain reaction.
"If water is lost, in almost all conditions, you will then have a fire that releases extremely large amounts of radioactive material," said one author. "For practical purposes, it's a given."
TVA dismisses the report as bad science.
TVA's after-the-fact attention to sludge-pond safety provides some solace. Such post-disaster efforts would be pathetic and inadequate after prevailing winds ushered radioactive particles toward Decatur and Huntsville.
TVA either was oblivious to, or underestimated, the risk posed by its sludge pond in Tennessee. Even as it begins to clean up behind itself, it needs to begin the tough process of restoring public trust.
We trust the authority with our lives. The Tennessee spill gives us reason to wonder."
Now this is not new to me, I used to live in the shadow of Calvert Cliffs Nuclear Plant in Southern Maryland, and we had the very same problem because the method of storing spent fuel is the same at all the nuke plants. But considering this "infrastructure" problem, the citizens that live around any of these nuke plants are at equal risk.
"Nearly all of the spent fuel created since the dawn of the nuclear age is still sitting in interim storage pools, tanks and dumps close to the reactor site (generally a separate area within the reactor complex.) There is around 160,000 tonnes of spent fuel in interim storage around the world, and every year the nuclear powers add another 14,000 tonnes to the stockpile."
This is a mess too, folks. Anyone who tells you this is safe is also lying.