Fluoride Action Network

TVA approves $250 million contract with Cameco Inc. to supply uranium hexafluoride

Source: Knoxville News Sentinel | February 19th, 2011 | By Ed Marcum
Industry type: Nuclear Industry

MURPHY, N.C. – TVA board members approved $750 million in contracts Friday for the processing and supply of uranium fuel for its fleet of nuclear plants and also approved $53 million for a gypsum dewatering facility at the a.inline_topic:hover { background-color: rgb(234, 234, 234); } Kingston Fossil Plant.

The eight-member board met in Murphy, where they toured Martin’s Elementary School, the site of a large solar farm being built through TVA’s Generation Partners program.

Bill McCollum, TVA’s chief operating officer, outlined two contracts TVA wanted the board to approve for its nuclear program. The federal utility wants a $500 million contract with American Centrifuge LLC to provide uranium enrichment service from 2016-25. TVA also sought approval for a $250 million contract with Cameco Inc. to supply uranium hexafluoride from 2017-25. Both requests were OK’d unanimously.

The TVA board also unanimously approved construction of a $53 million gypsum dewatering facility at the Kingston Fossil Plant, site of the 2008 coal fly ash spill. The facility will separate the gypsum and water, resulting from the scrubbing process at the fossil plant, to allow the gypsum to be placed in dry storage, McCollum said.

“We are closing all our wet storage ponds for our coal combustion products,” he told the board.

This is part of a $1.2 billion effort by TVA to clean up the area around Kingston Fossil Plant after the Dec. 22, 2008, spill of 5.4 million cubic yards of coal ash sludge from a holding area. TVA President and CEO a.inline_topic:hover { background-color: rgb(234, 234, 234); } Tom Kilgore said that effort is about 20 percent complete.

Kilgore also addressed questions about the recent firing of a top TVA nuclear executive.

TVA has drawn attention recently for the firing of Masoud Bajestani, the executive in charge of the Watts Bar II nuclear plant construction project. Bajestani holds dual U.S.-Iranian citizenship, and some observers have questioned whether TVA should have allowed someone with citizenship in a country the U.S. considers a security threat to hold such a position.

Kilgore said anyone who is a U.S. citizen may be employed by TVA, plus Bajestani had to pass stringent security checks to hold his position.

“The problem was not about his citizenship,” Kilgore said.

In papers filed during a divorce proceeding, Bajestani said he fabricated a hardship story in order to get $1.8 million from a TVA deferred bonus fund.

TVA this week named Dave Stinson, former recovery manager for TVA’s Browns Ferry Nuclear Plant Unit 3, to succeed Bajestani as vice president for the Watts Bar Nuclear Plant Unit 2 construction project.

Stinson has been with TVA since 1992.

The five-year, $2.5 billion Watts Bar Unit 2 project began in 2007 and will be the first new reactor brought into commercial operation in the United States since Watts Bar Unit 1 in 1996. The reactor will add 1,180 megawatts to the TVA power system and will provide about 290 permanent jobs. Some 3,500 contract workers are involved in its construction.

© 2011, Knoxville News Sentinel Co.