GA:Power plants may run dry if lakes can't float barge : LUSENET : Grassroots Information Coordination Center (GICC) : One Thread

Copyright 2000 The Atlanta Constitution

The Atlanta Journal and Constitution

December 10, 2000, Sunday, Home Edition

SECTION: Metro News; Pg. 1C LENGTH: 433 words HEADLINE: Power plants may run dry if lakes can't float barge BYLINE: Charles Seabrook, Staff SOURCE: AJC BODY: Eufaula, Ala. --- If a barge carrying three 360-ton steam generators can't float up the lower Chattahoochee River to a nuclear power plant before February, there's a high possibility of power outages this summer in the Southeast, officials predicted Saturday. At issue is a U.S. Army Corps of Engineers proposal to release billions of gallons of water from three big reservoirs on the lower Chattahoochee --- lakes West Point, Walter F. George, and Seminole --- to float the barge from Apalachicola, Fla. to a dock near the Farley Nuclear Power Plant near Dothan, Ala.

Officials with the Atlanta Regional Commission, the Lake Lanier Association and others said at a specially called meeting here Saturday that release of the water could have dire consequences for Lanier.

The water release is based on the Corps' expectation that winter rains will refill the reservoirs. If the rains don't come, however, the Corps would have to draw water out of an already severely depleted Lanier to make up for the deficit downstream.

Corps officials on Saturday said they are confident the winter rains will be sufficient to refill the reservoirs and there is no danger of having to tap into Lake Lanier.

But an ill-timed decision by the Corps last spring to release water from the lower reservoirs caused a draw-down of Lanier when expected spring and summer rains did not return to refill the lakes. As a result, Lanier was projected to drop to is lowest level in history.

"We are very concerned about the prospect of opening another navigation window," said Charles Krautler, head of the ARC. "We ask the Corps to postpone the proposed navigation release (for the single barge) until the winter rains that have been projected actually materialize."

However, Dave Morey, vice president of the Farley plant, said that the steam generators have to reach the plant no later than February in order to be installed and started up to provide power next summer to Alabama and parts of Georgia.

Without the generators in place, the power supply for much of the Southeast could be disrupted. The three generators, which produce 900 megawatts of electricity, will replace three 25-year-old generators at the plant.

"The consequences of not installing the replacement steam generators could have significant adverse impact on the electric supply of Alabama Power Co. and the Southeastern United States," Morey said.

Corps officials said after Saturday's meeting that they will make a decision soon on whether to release the water for the barge or hold off until there's sufficient rainfall.

-- Martin Thompson (, December 11, 2000

Moderation questions? read the FAQ