Six inches of extra water is a great benefit because we can get the barges in closer and service them more efficiently,” said Buddy Landers. “Spotting” is the process of moving cargo from the barge to shore. “We had trouble spotting several barges this winter because the water was so low we couldn’t get the barges within 15 feet of their docks,” Landers said. Low water means the barges cannot get close enough to the shore to efficiently use the “grain leg,” a conveyor belt and Depreciation Schedule Template that transports the cargo to shore.
“If we can spot it all the way against the dock, like we do during the normal water stage, we don’t have to go to all that trouble,” Landers said. The Unit 1 reactor at Browns Ferry Nuclear Plant is slated to go on line in May 2007, and McCullough said its renovation is both on budget and on schedule. Bechtel Corp. will complete engineering of the plant this month, and the project is 41 percent complete.
McCullough said Unit 1 will add 4 percent to TVA’s power generation capacity and will reduce the systemwide cost of producing that power by almost 1 percent — all without emitting pollutants. He said cash flow will pay for the entire $1.8 billion recovery cost. By 2015, he said, Unit 1 will have paid for itself through cost savings to ratepayers. One Unit 1 hurdle that troubles McCullough is the delay in completion of the Yucca Mountain facility in Nevada, which he called “a single, safe, long-term repository for spent fuel.”
The delay is costing TVA money because it has to arrange for on-site storage of nuclear waste. That is a cost McCullough thinks should not be borne by Valley ratepayers. It’s a little bit uncomfortable here. Yucca Mountain is behind schedule. McCullough has worked hard to warm once-chilly relations between TVA and Congress. He said recent criticism from Sen. Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., followed by a subcommittee hearing conducted by Alexander, is not a sign that relations are cooling.