Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Southeast Could Face Power Shortages Generators' Transport Sparks Controversy

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Southeast Could Face Power Shortages Generators' Transport Sparks Controversy

Article excerpt

EUFAULA, Ala. -- If a barge is prohibited from carrying three steam generators to a nuclear plant on the Chattahoochee River, the Southeast could be subject to serious power outages in the summer, officials warn.

Environmentalists, however, claim the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers' proposal to release billions of gallons of water from three lower Chattahoochee reservoirs to allow passage of the barge would damage the environment and wildlife.

Environmental groups and Alabama Power officials met Saturday in Eufaula to discuss whether floating the generators now was worth the risk to the environment caused by releasing water from Lake Seminole, Westpoint Reservoir and Walter F. George Reservoir.

All three bodies of water and the Chattahoochee River are on the Georgia-Alabama border.

Officials with the Atlanta Regional Commission, the Lake Lanier Association and others said at the meeting that the 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 and there is no danger of having to tap into the already severely depleted Lake Lanier to make up for the deficit downstream.

Some 100 people attended the public meeting called by the Corps, which will decide within a week whether to allow the barge to make the three- or four-day trip from Apalachicola, Fla. to the Farley Nuclear Plant near Dothan, Ala.

"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," said Dave Morey, vice president of the Farley plant.

Officials from Southern Nuclear Operating Co. and Alabama Power, subsidiaries of the Southern Co., say the quickest and most economical way to transport the three 360-ton steam generators is by barge. …

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