Tennessee Valley Authority Pushes For Nuclear Energy After Ash Spill

Tennessee Valley Authority's chief operating officer Bill McCollum briefed the TVA board of directors on the utility's plans for future nuclear operations, just one month after the Japan disaster.

According to The Chattanoogan, McCollum told directors "safety is TVA's top priority" in designing the plants, and will incorporate lessons learned from Japan while they continue to unfold.

TVA staff will ask the board whether or not to move ahead with construction on the previously approved nuclear unit "after TVA has a clear understanding of the Japanese nuclear situation and any potential impact on the project,” reports The Chattanoogan.

Some critics argue that TVA’s plan doesn't properly focus on conservation and the use of alternative clean energies. According the Times Free Press, the director of the Southern Alliance for Clean Energy, Stephen Smith, said TVA far underplays the potential of solar power and wind power:

“The fact that the nation’s largest public utility might plan to largely ignore the economic development and environmental benefits of renewable energy resources over the next 20 years is ridiculous.”

McCollum's claims of safety as a top priority will surely be tested given the 2008 Tennessee spill that unleashed more than 1 billion gallons of coal waste into water and across hundreds of acres of rural land.