WATE-TV Knoxville interview with former TVA Board Chairman David Freeman: (link} TVA board approves billions more to finish Watts Bar reactor "Former TVA Board Chairman David Freeman said after the meeting he finds it disgraceful that the current board is going to continue to fund and construct the Watts Bar reactor. Freeman said, "TVA is building yesterday's technology tomorrow," and places the blame on the board.
TVA Meeting report by Gretel Johnston & Garry Morgan
"TVA voted to continue with Watts Bar, basically committing another $2 billion of our dollars to nuclear. The TVA Board rubber stamped the staffs recommendation again, but were extremely defensive and for the first time my sense was that there were cracks in their consciences. Chairman Sansom said, more that once, "we have been beat up in the press, and the TVA staff gets beat up - who do not deserve it."
TVA ranks 47th in industrial rate charges amongst the top 100 utilities in the nation. TVA's expansions into nuclear power will result in higher industrial power rates. Historically, this has been a problem in the TVA region. Several large industrial concerns have moved or closed their doors due to TVA industrial rate increases. This includes Aluminum mills in Scottsboro and other southeastern locations.
The Listening Session began with former Chairman David Freeman making a very strong case for TVA to end their nuclear power expenditures. He stated, "TVA tried it before, it didn't work and it is not working now," making reference to TVA's out of control debt as a result of nuclear power construction. The former chairman stated, "I thought I was Rip Van Winkle and just awoke from a bad dream," referring to TVA's continued construction on the Bellefonte nuclear plant. Freeman also made the point that TVA led the nation in energy efficiency in 1978. Currently the states of the TVA region rank near the bottom in the nation for energy efficiency savings. Energy Efficiency = Energy Production and financial savings! In closing the former chairman stated, "y'all remind me of the mother who reviewed a parade of marching soldiers and wondered why all are out of step except her son."
LACK OF CONGRESSIONAL OVERSIGHT-An executive level federal official serving as an executive agent of a lobby organization which lobby's the Federal Government appears to be a conflict of interest and an ethics problem. In a normal federal situation where Congress offers oversight this would not be tolerated and possible criminal charges would be levied. The Tennessee River Valley Caucus of Congress is more interested in campaign contributions they receive from nuclear industry contractors than accountability. The insider stock trading of nuclear industry stocks on "capital hill" is also a sign of lacking accountability of Congress.
Louise Gorenflo, Sierra Club - TVA Committee, said they (TVA) didn't have a clue what is happening in the real world and cannot make long range plans until they get a grip. She also said that increasing energy efficiency by 1% per year would save the equivalent of 4 Watts Bars.
Dr. Steven Smith, Director of the Southern Alliance of Clean Energy said, "someone needs to be accountable for this $2 billion mistake, and the board should rethink the changing world and reconsider your (TVA's) high risk energy decisions.
Brian Paddock, an attorney from Jackson County Tn., and member of the Sierra Club asked the TVA to review the need for nuclear power and justify the nuclear construction expense with accurate power needs projections. Mr. Paddock indicated TVA's current power needs projections are not accurate. Mary Mastin, Sierra Club Attorney and law partner of Mr. Paddock asked for a definitive reply from the TVA concerning a request provided to the TVA at their last board meeting relating to expanding Energy Efficiency and Renewable-sustainable Energy resources. Ms. Mastin stated she had received a short form letter type of reply and did not adequately address the need for a higher commitment to renewable energy and energy efficiency.
Garry Morgan of the Bellefonte Efficiency and Sustainability Team, BEST a local chapter of BREDL-Blue Ridge Environmental Defense League, quoted George Santayana, "...those who do not learn from history are doomed to repeat it...," and added, "everyone else knew the cost of a nuclear reactor, including Watts Bar 2, why didn't you (TVA)?" Morgan also discussed the possibility of a political agenda to end the TVA due to its irresponsible and costly moves into nuclear power with its massive cost overruns. The TVA has over $27 billion in debt. Its long term commitments includes short and long term debt, debt interest, fuel contracts and leases exceeds 60 billion dollars.
Gretel Johnston spoke about energy efficiency and savings the TVA and its rate payers would receive from 'building' an Efficiency or Conservation Power Plant like Chairman Freeman did in the 1970's when TVA led the nation in energy efficiency. Ms. Johnston included educational materials from Dr. Marilyn Brown, a TVA Board Director. saying in one decade in the south alone, efficiency can save $41 billion in lower utility bills and create 380,000 new jobs. "In just the electric utility industry, cost-effective energy efficiency measures could reduce U.S. [electrical energy] consumption by an astounding 30 to 75%." Reference: "A Source of Energy Hiding in Plain Sight," by Dr. Marilyn Brown & Benjamin Sovocool in Yale Global, and "Energy Efficiency in the South," a Marilyn Brown study with Gerogia Tech and Duke University. THE POINT- WE DO NOT NEED NEW NUCLEAR POWER PLANTS!
TVA Board listening session and Board meeting: http://www.tva.com/abouttva/board/index.htm scroll down to the listening session link on the board page, 2 people from the Scottsboro area spoke. David Freeman - past TVA board chairman led the Listening Session presentations. Many concerned citizens spoke about the TVA, voicing their concerns. The TVA Board Meeting video is also listed at the above TVA link.
Links on area press articles concerning the TVA Board Meeting: Chattanooga Times Free Press with voting link -http://timesfreepress.com/news/2012/apr/26/former-board-member-told-tva-board-stop-building-n/?breakingnews
Cost over runs and mismanagement - "Former TVA Chairman S. David Freeman calls for end to agency's nuclear building program" http://timesfreepress.com/news/2012/apr/27/former-chairman-s-david-freeman-blasts-tva/?print#>
"Rate Payers on Hook for TVA Errors" http://www.tennessean.com/article/20120427/OPINION01/304270034/Ratepayers-hook-TVA-errors
Scottsboro's Daily Sentinel (cut & paste) - http://thedailysentinel.com/news/article_ace96eae-9001-11e1-970e-001a4bcf887a.html