Wednesday, March 28, 2018

Another Ohio River power plant could shut down soon

... but this time it's not a coal-fired plant.

FirstEnergy says it wants to retire three nuclear plants in the next three years. One of those is Beaver Valley at Shippingport, Pa. It's the only nuclear plant along the Ohio River, and is one of the largest in terms of generating capacity.

The other two plants are in northern Ohio.

From the FirstEnergy news release:

The total capacity of the nuclear plants to be deactivated is 4,048 megawatts (MW). In 2017, the nuclear units contributed approximately 65 percent of the electricity produced by the FES generating fleet.

"The decision to deactivate these facilities is very difficult and in no way a reflection on the dedicated, hard-working employees who operate the plants safely and reliably or on the local communities and union leaders who have advocated passionately on their behalf," said Don Moul, president of FES Generation Companies and chief nuclear officer. "Though the plants have taken aggressive measures to cut costs, the market challenges facing these units are beyond their control.

"We call on elected officials in Ohio and Pennsylvania to consider policy solutions that would recognize the importance of these facilities to the employees and local economies in which they operate, and the unique role they play in providing reliable, zero-emission electric power for consumers in both states. We stand ready to roll-up our sleeves and work with policy makers to find solutions that will make it feasible to continue to operate these plants in the future."

M/V John Vaughn

With all the changes in the towing industry and cargo movements in the past few years, some familiar boats rarely make it to my area anymore and some unfamiliar ones are taking their places.

Yesterday evening I noticed a boat called the John Vaughn was in the area, so late on an overcast evening I went to old Lock and Dam 27 to get a look at it.

Note that there was no name near the pilothouse, on the tow knees or on the stern. Something about the boat seemed familiar, but I couldn't place it. I looked it up later and found that it is the former Kevin Flowers of ACBL. The Coast Guard lists its current owner as Knight Manufacturing Corp.

And while I was at old Lock and Dam 27, I  saw the usual litter that plagues public places in this region.

At least this cup lay peacefully and whole surrounded by those little purple flowers, whatever they're called.