Advocacy group opposes extension for TVA Sequoyah plant

The Blue Ridge Environmental Defense League (BREDL) has filed a petition with the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) seeking to intervene against the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) request for a 20-year license extension for the Sequoyah nuclear plant.

The petition was filed May 6 by BREDL and its chapter Bellefonte Efficiency and Sustainability Team and its project Mothers Against Tennessee River Radiation.

In January of this year TVA filed an application for a 20-year license extension for the two-unit Sequoyah plant in Hamilton County, Tenn. The current licenses for Sequoyah Units 1 and 2 are set to expire in September 2020 and September 2021 respectively.

Each power unit is rated at roughly 1,160-MW, BREDL notes in its petition. The BREDL document includes a list of 19 individual petitioners that live between eight miles and 160 miles of the plant. Sixteen of the 19 live within 50 miles of the nuclear station, BREDL said.

BREDL and the related groups claim that TVA’s license renewal petition has several key shortcomings. Among other things the petition claims that TVA fails to adequately address the risks from flooding which could result from upstream dams. The petition also asserts that a thorough analysis of risks associated with long-term storage of spent fuel has not been provided.

The petition also asserts that four counties out of five within 50 miles of Sequoyah “have higher cancer death rates than the state average.”

Finally, the Blue Ridge petition notes that Sequoyah’s nuclear reactors are under consideration for a Department of Energy (DOE) pilot program for use of mixed-oxide fuel derived from plutonium.

DOE had earlier contracts with two investor owned utilities, Dominion (NYSE:D) and Duke Energy (NYSE:DUK) to participate in the MOX test – but both withdrew, BREDL said. “Now TVA appears to be stepping into the breach.”

About Wayne Barber 4201 Articles
Wayne Barber, Chief Analyst for the GenerationHub, has been covering power generation, energy and natural resources issues at national publications for more than 20 years. Prior to joining PennWell he was editor of Generation Markets Week at SNL Financial for nine years. He has also worked as a business journalist at both McGraw-Hill and Financial Times Energy. Wayne also worked as a newspaper reporter for several years. During his career has visited nuclear reactors and coal mines as well as coal and natural gas power plants. Wayne can be reached at wayneb@pennwell.com.