When Governor Sonny Perdue of the US State of Georgia filed a legal complaint and then formally asked for the support of the Bush Administration to force the US Army Corps of Engineers to stop releasing water from Atlanta's Lake Lanier, perhaps he did not realize that the Corps had a duty to balance competing water demands far beyond protection under the Endangered Species Act (ESA) of 'a handful of mussels and a few sturgeon' in neighboring states. Perhaps, before his voice was trumpeted on broadcast news, blaming the ESA and the USAE for Atlanta's water crisis, the Governor's staff did not have means to discover the several water-consuming, job-producing industries on the Chattahoochee River, downstream from Atlanta. Perhaps he really didn't know about the nuclear power plant either.
We used this thing called "Google" (hoping CNN and the Governor's staff learn to give it a try) and soon discovered that Alabama's Farley Plant, a twin-reactor nuclear generating station, had recently been relicensed by the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission, to withdraw from, and discharge water to, the Chattahoochee River, not too far downstream from the Alabama State line. Check out Jasmin's recent post if you want more detail on the twin Farleys.The re-licensing means that the Farley's have many more years of low-carbon footprint operating to come, unless there is a power outage due to low water. Wondering if the grid fed electricity from Farley makes its way back to Atlanta?
Here's a snippet from the Federal Register announcement to which we refer:
Notice is hereby given that the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (the Commission) has issued Renewed Facility Operating License Nos. NPF-2 and NPF-8 to Southern Nuclear Operating Company, Inc. (SNC or the licensee), the operator of the Joseph M. Farley Nuclear Plant (FNP), Units 1 and 2. Renewed Facility Operating License No. NPF-2 authorizes operation of FNP, Unit 1, by the licensee at reactor core power levels not in excess of 2775 megawatts thermal in accordance with the provisions of the FNP, Unit 1, renewed license and its technical specifications. Renewed Facility Operating License No. NPF-8 authorizes operation of FNP, Unit 2, by the licensee at reactor core power levels not in excess of 2775 megawatts thermal in accordance with the provisions of the FNP, Unit 2, renewed license and its technical specifications.
The FNP units are Westinghouse pressurized-water nuclear reactors located in Houston County, Alabama, on the west bank of the Chattahoochee River.
There could be unseen dangers in admitting that the Federal Government has a legitimate role to play in balancing competing water-consuming and resource-protecting interests across state lines. And we all know what those are.
Rather than refer back to the several recent posts TreeHugger has done on drought impact scenarios in the Atlanta Georgia region, we direct your attention to some excellent current reporting via WALB News, "South Georgia surface water also shrinking"
Update: Per the Alabama-based Enterprise Ledger
"Atlanta [Georgia] can't spend all summer during a drought watering their lawns and flowers and then expect someone else to bail them out. If Atlanta had done what Birmingham [Alabama] did in June, then Atlanta's problem today would be much less severe," said Riley.
Image credit::Cryptome, Farley Reactors, Eyballing, (via Google Earth).