TVA – wasteful spending on nuclear reactors

 

TVA – wasteful spending on nuclear reactors

February 27, 2013

 The Tennessee Valley Authority, you know, the federal agency that supplies electricity for about nine million people in the Southeast, must be crazy if the definition of insanity is described as repeating the same mistakes and expecting a different outcome.

 The most outlandish example of this is how TVA has dealt with nuclear reactors from the start. First, a group of three so-called experts in the field decided wrongly on the number of reactors that would be needed for then and for long-term. They started far too many at once; costs became overwhelming and demand for electricity dropped drastically. This scenario is repeating itself yet again. But what does TVA do?

 ‘Let’s build so-called small modular reactors for a tenth of the cost and of course at a tenth of the power.’ That’s the prediction from the experts when the SMR has never been built or successfully tested to the consternation of TVA’s ratepayers, the ones who must pay for a very expensive experiment; its hair-pulling time.

 One thing ratepayer’s dread is that they must pay again for another TVA folly. It’s a familiar theme; borrow more money and this time get even more help from the Department of Energy which is illegal on the face of it. The pattern is the same and the road is endless for can kicking.

 TVA is a peculiar program of FDR’s that President Obama would like to emulate, no matter the cost or who has to pay. TVA ratepayers should have a say in any developments that directly affect their pockbook.

 Costly reactors, fits and starts, have cost billions in wasted dollars. And now TVA is trying to finish two reactors that have decade’s old and obsolete technology. What to do? Why, plow ahead with old concepts none of which were time and cost estimated properly within a “budget” (using the term “budget” very loosely,) and continued use of the insanity defense?

 One of the old reactors was re-started at the Browns Ferry site and TVA proclaimed that the restart was “on time and on budget,” neither of which, as it turned out, was true. But President Bush took TVA’s statement as true and repeated the error. Bush was “sandbagged”; of course, nobody at TVA was punished for lying or was fired.

 The project has been plagued with problems since then but all TVA does is throw good money after bad. At one time, the NRC rated it the worst nuclear reactor in the U.S. I have knowledge from an eyewitness report that the operators acted lackadaisical and one time let a cleanup person “shut down a nuclear reactor.”

 TVA says it plans to do a new “Integrated Resource Plan.” Much time and travel expense went into the present IRP, including secret meetings. The likely results would be similar; not worth the paper that it was written on. The problem is that TVA’s mission was completed many decades ago: every few years TVA has since come up with yet another “plan.”

 The TVA has gone begging for congressional control; it should be abolished or absolve ratepayers’ obligation for TVA’s $30 billion debt and increasing experimental funds.

 Ernest Norsworthy

Limited Government

https://norsworthyopinion.wordpress.com

 

 

 

 

“Well Ernest, you got it all figured out. Don’t you? Criticize with incomplete information. Make snap judgments quickly. It’s just that easy.”

Well, Nick, go ahead and tell me the “incomplete information” I’ve missed; I’d be happy to put it in my knowledge file. Anyway, I make all of my “snap judgments” slowly, unlike yours. And it is not “easy” to write about the #800 gorilla, a.k.a. as the federal government, sitting on the couch.

I’d suggest a little more homework before making another “snap judgment.”

The Tennessee Valley Authority, you know, the federal agency that supplies electricity for about nine million people in the Southeast, must be crazy if the definition of insanity is described as repeating the same mistakes and expecting a different outcome.

The most outlandish example of this is how TVA has dealt with nuclear reactors from the start. First, a group of three so-called experts in the field decided wrongly on the number of reactors needed at the time and for long-term.They started far too many reactors at once; cost overruns became overwhelming and demand for electricity dropped drastically. This scenario is repeating itself yet again. But what does TVA do?

‘Let’s build so-called small modular reactors for a tenth of the cost and of course and a tenth of the power.’ That’s the prediction from the experts. A small modular nuclear reactor, SMR, has never been built or even successfully tested. To the consternation of TVA’s ratepayers, the ones who must pay for this very expensive experiment, it’s hair-pulling time.

You might just as well have TVA build a submarine and call it a portable power supply. But wait! The Navy has already done this, decades ago.

This is not to belittle the SMR, because it is a new and untried method to deliver electrical power. And it is timely regarding possible cyber attacks to the grid. With smaller power suppliers, transmission lines remain the same but the power is subdivided into smaller groups of users so that catastrophic power failures affect smaller areas. Hmm, sounds like the way electricity was delivered in the past using more traditional and cheaper energy sources.

 When tornadoes and storms ripped up nearly 100 miles of primary transmission lines in north Alabama several years ago, though devastated, much of the power was restored fairly soon by working around with existing power lines. The way “it used to be”?

 One thing ratepayers’ dread is that they must pay again for another TVA folly. It’s a familiar theme; borrow more money and this time get even more help from the Department of Energy which is illegal on the face of it. The pattern is the same and the road is endless for can kicking. The ratepayers’ tab has been run up to nearly $30 billion so far with no end in sight.

 TVA is a peculiarly different program of FDR’s that President Obama would love to emulate, no matter the cost or who has to pay. TVA ratepayers should have a say in any developments that directly affect their pocketbook.

 Costly reactors, fits and starts, have cost billions in wasted dollars. And now, TVA is trying to finish two reactors that have decade’s old technology now obsolete. What to do? Why, plow ahead with old concepts none of which were time and cost estimated properly within a “budget” (using the term “budget” very loosely,) and continuing use of the insanity defense.

 One of the old reactors was re-started at the Browns Ferry site and TVA proclaimed that the restart was “on time and on budget,” neither of which, as it turned out, was true. But President Bush took TVA’s statement as true and repeated the error. Bush was “sand bagged”; of course, nobody at TVA was punished for lying or was fired. The cooling capacity of the reactors was not correctly designed in the first place.

 The project has been plagued with problems since then but all TVA does is throw good money after bad. At one time, the NRC rated it the worst nuclear reactor in the U.S. I have knowledge from on-site reports that the operators acted lackadaisical and once let a cleanup person “shut down a nuclear reactor.”

 TVA says it plans to do a new “Integrated Resource Plan.” With some meetings held in secret like those held during the endless meetings of the present IRP, the results likely would be similar, not worth the paper it was written on. A new CEO, a new direction.

 TVA claims to provide electricity at “competitive rates,” which is not a true statement; there are cheaper rates in adjacent utilities. And anyway, why does TVA compete with other power suppliers? The government should not compete in our free market system.

Limited Government

Ernest Norsworthy

TVA – a secret federal agency?

 

In TVA’s first full public meeting in 2013, pooh-bah Bill Sansom, Chairman of TVA’s board of directors, said in reference to private meetings between TVA staff and board members, “because it just works better that way,” quoting from an article in the Chattanooga Times Free Press on Friday. Such meetings will be kept from the public’s view.

 

 TVA has never wanted open meetings; ever wonder why “agenda” items pass unanimously so frequently without any opposition? These once a quarter public meetings are mostly attended for show enabling the public to sound off; it rarely does any good. I cannot recall but one instance in years of meetings where there was opposition to an agenda item, only once in years of meetings. That one time was a vote, ironically, to have such meetings between directors and TVA staff open and transparent. (I believe Bishop Graves noted that early in his appointment as a director.)

 

After all, TVA is supposed to be a work in process, an example of transparency in government. Stockholding utilities on the other hand, reveal as much as their shareholders want to allow. Battles sometimes are so intense that CEO’s or other top officers often are asked to resign or are outright fired. They were not strong enough on the bottom line. TVA has no “bottom line.”

 

This is where TVA’s bright line of separation of government from private enterprise comes in. TVA has been conflicted from the start by following FDR’s desire for TVA to act like a stock sharing company while still retaining the power of the federal government, of the power to take private property.

 

 TVA works in a specific geographic area behind the “fence” of no competition; however, TVA has national implications by purchases hundreds of miles away driving a national agenda for more “green” energy. Recently, TVA has contracted for some wind-driven electrical power that is over the cost of producing power within the TVA territory but supports the national agenda.

 

All of this is at the expense of TVA ratepayers for it is they who must pay for these extravagances and for other TVA giveaway programs.

 

TVA has the gall to continue accepting “free” money through their so-called Green Power Switch program where they sell imaginary “blocks” of electricity but this imaginary electricity is paid by ratepayers in real money. Check out this fraud; I have and am appalled at the gullibility of some TVA ratepayers to fall for such a swindle. Yet, they seem too much blinded by the environmentalists’ glare to seek a utopian world.      

 

If you think about it, ratepayers pay twice for their electricity when a distant windpower source is used. Once, as a US taxpayer when the Dept. of Energy subsidizes it, and again, as a TVA ratepayer when TVA sells that same power. Something doesn’t smell right here.

 

Is TVA headed for the “cliff”? Stay tuned…

TVA – a spy among us?

It is more than a little unsettling that it appears that Iran, a sworn enemy of the US, has a trained Iranian engineer who was fired from working on the rebuilding of a nuclear reactor in Bajestani is a citizen of Iran, and although he apparently has dual citizenship, his actions definitely shows Iran is his preference.

 We are practically in a state of war with Iran and have been playing “chicken” with them for years. Bajestani, purportedly a nuclear expert, would seem to prefer to speed along Iran’s efforts to make atomic weapons rather than to help the U.S. finish a decades old nuclear plant here.

 TVA will not say much about Bajestani although he worked for TVA a considerable time. After Bajestani suddenly left the nuclear site at Watts Bar, questions came up about his past history, his public divorce proceedings, and his attempts to deceive TVA to get at $1.5 million in deferred compensation.

 Clearly, the man is a flight risk no matter how many electronic bracelets he has on. Now in the international arena, the judgment not to hold him for trial appears to placate Obama’s desire to “discuss” the Iran situation. The argument he could have flown does not equal the risk now because he has been arrested.

 The judge said it was a “close call” of whether or not to detain him and he came down on the side of a home detention. Think of the $1.5 million he likely will have to give up and taken from Iranian banks (unlikely); think of the years he likely will spend in an American prison. He already proved his ability to lie and get away with it. Not a flight risk?

 Chamberlainesque, the judge made a soft decision and will rue the day when Bajestani does not show up for trial.