tennessee-valley-authority

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Hartsville Station Nuclear Power Plant (Hartsville, Tennessee) 

ADDRESS: There isn’t an actual address for this power plant, mainly because it spans over an area of 2000-acres. The main reactor as seen in the first photo is at the exact coordinates listed below. The whole plant is off Smith Way. 

COORDINATES: 36.350873,-86.083417

The Hartsville Station Nuclear Power Plant was built by the Tennessee Valley Authority to hold four General Electric boiling water reactors. Building stopped in the 1980s for this plant because the TVA did not accurately measure the power needs of the area. All four of the water reactors remain, each in a different stage of completion. 

I’m careful not to attribute any particular resistance or slight or opposition to race. But what I do believe is that if somebody didn’t have a problem with their daddy being employed by the federal government, and didn’t have a problem with the Tennessee Valley Authority electrifying certain communities, and didn’t have a problem with the interstate highway system being built, and didn’t have a problem with the GI Bill, and didn’t have a problem with the [Federal Housing Administration] subsidizing the suburbanization of America, and that all helped you build wealth and create a middle class — and then suddenly as soon as African Americans or Latinos are interested in availing themselves of those same mechanisms as ladders into the middle class, you now have a violent opposition to them — then I think you at least have to ask yourself the question of how consistent you are, and what’s different, and what’s changed.

I found this rusted old sign off the beaten path while walking on the abandoned Old Citico Road this afternoon. The sign was a survey marker for the TVA, acting as an indicator of the land they had confiscated before the completion of the Tellico Dam in Lenior City. There’s no telling how long the sign had been there, but considering that the Little Tennessee River Valley was flooded in 1978, it may have very well sat there for nearly 40 years or possibly longer. I’ve done some research on this particular sign’s design and according to what I’ve found, the Tennessee Valley Authority had used these during the 1930s. They are extremely rare finds, given that they were made of porcelain. It is possible that the TVA may have already started surveying the area when the property was owned by the Carson family, who had owned and operated one of the largest dairy farms in the southeast at the time. This can be found off the abandoned Old Citico Road in Vonore, Tennessee.

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This is PART 2 of our explore of the abandoned Hales Bar Dam near Chattanooga, Tennessee. 

Once the dam was set into operation, the workers there fought leaks continuously with no success. Many of them died in the process of trying to stop the leaks, which included everything they could think of from stuffing rags and old carpets into them to trying to fill them with hot asphalt. 

After the dam was built, a new school was also built on the powerhouse side of the river.  Those children who lived on the other side of the river had to cross it each day by walking through a crude, wet tunnel that ran underneath the dam.   Once they reached the powerhouse, they’d climb up the spiral staircase you can see in this photoset.   Then, they’d walk through the powerhouse and on over to the school. 

The Tennessee Valley Authority (the Federal government) took over the dam in 1939, after winning a Supreme Court decision in a lawsuit by the local power company who was trying to stop the TVA from doing so.    The TVA immediately began major repairs on the dam to stop the leaks, and by 1943 they had actually succeeded in stopping them.  Then, in 1949, the TVA extended the powerhouse and increased the dam’s electrical output.   The extension is clearly visible in the photos of the dam’s exterior.

In 1950, the leaks returned, this time at an estimated rate of 1500 to 2000 cubic feet of water per second.   They continued to fight the leaks on into the 1960’s.  Finally, after considering the costs that would be involved in more leak repairs, along with the fact that the dam’s lock was too small for the river traffic then in use, it was decided to build Nickajack Dam about 6 miles further downriver to replace Hales Bar Dam.   

Nickajack Dam went into operation on December 14, 1967 and operations ceased at Hales Bar Dam on December 15th.    By September, 1968, Hales Bar Dam was mostly disassembled so that it wouldn’t hamper traffic moving up and down the river.    Interestingly, two of the generators from Hales Bar Dam were used in the building of Nickajack Dam.  

The remaining structures at the site of Hales Bar Dam are now private property, and they’re closed to the public.  Security is always onsite.   

Rumors of the powerhouse and tunnel being haunted are prevalent, which include stories of strange noises, unexplained footsteps, shadows that move, EVPs, voices, and glimpses of a ghostly man in a hat walking around.   If that’s not enough, there’s also the sight of the perpetual whirlpool that does sort of send a chill down your spine.    

vox.com
Obama: if you were fine with big government until it served black people, rethink your biases
The president speaks at length about race with Ta-Nehisi Coates at the Atlantic.
By German Lopez

Here’s some real talk from President Barack Obama, taken from his conversations with Ta-Nehisi Coates at the Atlantic:

I’m careful not to attribute any particular resistance or slight or opposition to race. But what I do believe is that if somebody didn’t have a problem with their daddy being employed by the federal government, and didn’t have a problem with the Tennessee Valley Authority electrifying certain communities, and didn’t have a problem with the interstate highway system being built, and didn’t have a problem with the GI Bill, and didn’t have a problem with the [Federal Housing Administration] subsidizing the suburbanization of America, and that all helped you build wealth and create a middle class — and then suddenly as soon as African Americans or Latinos are interested in availing themselves of those same mechanisms as ladders into the middle class, you now have a violent opposition to them — then I think you at least have to ask yourself the question of how consistent you are, and what’s different, and what’s changed.

In July 1933 the Board of Directors of the Tennessee Valley Authority named Cove Creek Dam “Norris Dam” in honor of Senator George Norris from Nebraska. Even before the construction of the dam began, a town of Norris was being planned and built. On October 1, 1933 work at the dam site began on the east bank of the Clinch River. Norris Dam was virtually finished after almost three years of construction. In May of 1936, the gates of the dam were closed, and impoundment of the Clinch River began. By the end of July, the first generator had begun spinning, thus bringing near to completion the first of twenty dams that TVA was to build in the next twenty years.

Later on this afternoon, my dad and I rode to Lenoir City to pay a visit to this infamous dam, a dam that is hated and despised by the people who once lived in the Little Tennessee River Valley prior to its flooding in 1979.

This is the Tellico Dam, which impounds the Little Tennessee River. It was built as the direct result of greed. In fact, this dam really doesn’t serve much of a purpose besides “flood control”. Unlike Calderwood and Chilhowee dams, Tellico Dam is not a hydroelectric dam. Basically, its main purpose is to regulate the lake levels throughout the year. During the summer, water is let out of the gates to allow for recreational purposes. During the colder months, the gates are shut off, leaving the water levels lower.

When I had approached the dam, I didn’t know what to expect. There was an air of silence about it. The gates had been closed off, leaving the mossy concrete exposed. When I looked at it, I kept myself composed. After all, I grew up on the stories of what the Little Tennessee River was like. It was beautiful and the land was peaceful. There were farms littering the valley that were blessed with fertile soil from the river. There were neighborhoods. There were homes that had belonged to families for generations. There were ancient historic sites that the Cherokee once lived in. The dam destroyed ecosystems. The river is gone, replaced by a polluted lake. There were memories somewhere, hidden deep below the murky waters of the lake. The dam was so small in comparison to the others I have visited, but it destroyed so much. What it didn’t destroy is now in ruins. In some of my previous posts of explorations in Vonore, Tennessee, many of these abandoned sites were supposed to be underwater. This is land that the TVA confiscated. You can imagine how people felt after these sites remained above water.

I swore that I never wanted to see it again as long as I lived.

youtube

(via TVA FM  )

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Here is a series of photos that I had found online of the Little Tennessee River Valley and the Tellico Dam. I tried my best to put these pictures in order, like a pictorial timeline of events.

The first two photos are of the Little Tennessee River Valley in the Vonore, Tennessee area. The first photo was most likely taken in the early 70s. It is actually featured in the Fort Loudon State Park museum. The second photo was taken in 1979, the year that the Tellico Dam was completed.

The third photo shows the Tellico Dam in its earlier stages of construction. The dam’s construction started around the 1960s, so it would be a safe bet that this photo was taken during that time. Notice the wooden bridge behind the dam that has cranes on it. This was probably used to build the retaining wall behind the structure itself.

The forth photo shows a little bit more progress on the Tellico Dam. An interesting thing to notice is the bridge that is in front of the dam. We actually found its ruins, but they were covered with boulders.

The fifth photo was taken during the same time period as the forth, but from a different angle. The gates to the Tellico Dam had not yet been completed. Construction on the dam was temporarily halted during the lawsuit involving the snail darter controversy, Tennessee Valley Authority vs. Hill.

The sixth photo shows an aerial view of the completed Tellico Dam in 1979. The Little Tennessee River is beginning to flood the valley as its path has been blocked off by the dam. The lake it already beginning to form.

The final photos are screenshots that I had taken from Google Earth of the dam site as it is today. You can plainly see the Tellico Reservoir in both screencaps–the first being in Loudon county and the second, Monroe county, specially Vonore. Many of the islands listed in Vonore are actually underwater.

Photo: "Unparallelled Worlds"
External image

There was something so mysterious about this unfinished Tennessee Valley Authority nuclear plant. Maybe it was the rebar dancing out of the concrete, the darkness that swallowed the lower floors, or the lime green grass breathing life back into this facility. Whatever it was, it brought me ecstasy. 

If you’ve never walked through one of these abandoned time capsules and stood in the place where nobody has worked, lived or been a patient in since it shut down, it’s an incredible experience that can’t be parallelled. 

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Outside Susan Holmes’ house in southeastern Oklahoma, visitors are welcomed by an entryway lined with oxygen bottles and a machine that collects and concentrates oxygen from the air.

“I take two inhalers twice a day,” Holmes says. “And I have a nebulizer that I use four times a day, and I use oxygen at night.”

She says her asthma returned when she moved to Bokoshe, a decaying town of about 500 people that is flanked by old coal mines. The huge pits have now been filled with hundreds of thousands of tons of coal ash.

About 130 million tons of coal ash are produced every year. Power companies used to keep it in big, open holes called coal ash ponds. No lining was required to stop leakage, and no monitoring, to even know if it was leaking.

Then, in 2008, a ruptured dike spilled more than a billion gallons of coal ash slurry from a pond operated by the Tennessee Valley Authority. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency considered classifying coal ash as “hazardous waste.”

The utility industry lobbied hard — and successfully — to avoid the hazardous waste designation. So in 2014, EPA’s new rules said coal ash was not hazardous.

Now, power companies must recycle the ash, store it more securely on site, or send the ash to landfills.

But in the towns where that ash is ending up, nobody is quite happy with those options.

Communities Uneasy As Utilities Look For Places To Store Coal Ash

Photos: Joe Wertz/Stateimpact Oklahoma and Molly Samuel/WABE