Chatt Times Free Press article on “sudden” departure of Watts Bar nuclear chief
January 29, 2011

When a federal agency does something “suddenly” (not a trait of federal agencies) and suspicions immediately are not answered, speculation can become rampant.

Because TVA does not have a good reputation of acting with alacrity, a sudden move can seem calamitous. Maybe not; but it calls into memory the Browns Ferry nuclear fire and the continuous problems TVA has had with the Browns Ferry plant.

The inherent flaw in the Browns Ferry design in not planning for more coolant capacity has been a costly one and may delay its ability to operate efficiently until millions are spent in increasing tower cooling capacity.

TVA’s huge mismanagements costing ratepayers billions of dollars just in the nuclear area have been economically disastrous and ironically, CEO Kilgore believes that would be one factor in lessening the salability of TVA’s assets.

The continuous push to “refurbish” technologically old, no, ancient, abandoned nuclear plants clearly exhibits a management mindset that is not prudent, cost conscious or innovative.

TVA cannot get around the fact that it has saddled ratepayers with an enormous debt, now at about $25 billion, much of it from bad management mistakes twenty years ago. And there is not enough income stream to prop up a greatly expanded management staff with a CEO that is the highest paid federal government worker in the country.

Was Bajestani fired? If so, that in itself is an unusual action by TVA management because “no one ever gets fired from the TVA” as the saying goes. Then it must be something very serious leaving to speculation whether or not Bajestani became a security risk.

Where is Bajestani today? Is there a serious illness involved?

Because TVA is not forthcoming immediately, particularly regarding anything nuclear, only wild speculation remains.

What will the TVA report to the Securities and Exchange Commission about the “event”? To the Nuclear Regulatory Commission?

The answers eventually will be forthcoming even while TVA plays its cat and mouse routine.

It seems that TVA always is shooting itself in the foot; this time better answers are demanded and more quickly.

Ernest Norsworthy

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