Coal-powered plant leaves legacy he doesn’t want

Published 8:29 am Saturday, March 28, 2009

To the Editor:

Why when a company is presented with a safer alternative that doesn’t have quite have as much profit margin in the Dendron Power Plant project do they not even consider it?

Why a nonprofit would not consider a safer alternative such as a combined cycle coal gasification plant driving gas and steam turbines escapes me.

I think what it boiled down to was the profit motive. They want to build the same old dirty polluting coal-fired power plant. What is this going to do to the Blackwater River?

The Dendron ODEC power plant will be approximately 3.05 miles from the schools at Elberon. Wikipedia, under fossil-fuel plants, says that a 1,000-megawatt coal burning power plant could release as much as 5.2 tons per year of uranium. The radioactive emission from this coal-fired power plant is 100 times greater than a comparable nuclear power plant with the same electrical output.

Including processing output, the coal power plant’s radiation output is over three times greater. The Dendron plant will be a third larger than this. Remember Clover, which ODEC owns a 50 percent share of? Well, they promised to add more pollution-control equipment when threatened with a large fine.

We want the best technology money can buy, not the same old slobbering, filthy, dirty coal power plants. “Non-polluting” is a pipe dream — just ask the residents in Chesapeake who lived around a golf course where fly ash was used.

They can no longer use their wells because the arsenic level in them is eight times normal.

The coal industry uses the term “clean coal” to describe experimental technologies designed to enhance both the efficiency and the environmental acceptability of coal extraction, preparation, and use, but has provided no specific quantitative limits on any emissions, particularly carbon dioxide. As of the end of 2008, there were no operating “clean coal” (CCS) commercial power plants in existence.

Natural gas is a cleaner fossil fuel than coal, since its combustion does not emit sulfur dioxide, particulate matter or radioactive materials.

When you look at it from all angles, a nuclear power plant would be less damaging and less hazardous than what ODEC is proposing. Do you want your children breathing in these radioactive elements at three times what their exposure would be elsewhere?

Remember the tornado in Suffolk no one saw coming? All of the county supervisors from surrounding areas need to think long and hard about what this power plant is going to expose the children of Southeastern Virginia and your counties to. Is coal ash going to be the asbestos of tomorrow? What a legacy to leave your children.

Mike Eggleston

Surry County