Tennessee Valley Authority shakes up executive staff

Tennessee Valley Authority shakes up executive staff

February 6th, 2009 in Business

The Tennessee Valley Authority is reshuffling its executive staff to help change the way the utility stores its fly ash and upgrade TVA's engineering support for all of its power plants.

The changes announced Thursday will put new leaders in charge of the utility's biggest power operations in Chattanooga and realign management duties for cleaning up the ash pond spill at the Kingston Fossil Plant.

Preston Swafford, formerly head of TVA's coal operations, will become TVA's nuclear chief in charge of overseeing one of the nation's largest fleets of nuclear reactors. Mr. Swafford, a former Exelon Corp. executive who joined TVA in 2006, replaces Bill Campbell as senior vice president of nuclear operations. Mr. Campbell is being moved to a new position overseeing engineering operations in both TVA's fossil and nuclear divisions.

John McCormick, senior vice president of fossil operations, will replace Mr. Swafford as head of operating the coal and gas-fired plants at TVA.

Anda Ray will be the project executive for the environmental remediation of the Kingston site, responsible for the overall scope and recovery strategy and public interaction. Bob Deacy will be the construction executive for the recovery at Kingston as well as ash and gypsum remediation efforts at all TVA coal plants.

In a memo to TVA employees Thursday, TVA President Tom Kilgore said the ash spill three days before Christmas in Kingston required the utility staff to make an unexpected recovery effort that initially cost nearly $1 million a day.

"As we have moved through the initial six weeks after the incident, we have to look at the longer-term project management issues," he told employees.

The Dec. 22 breach of an ash pond impoundment in Kingston spilled 1.1 billion gallons of ash and muck over 275 acres of Roane County property, including parts of the Emory River. The accident is one of the biggest industrial spills in U.S. history and has sparked calls from some members of Congress for utilities to abandon wet ash storage ponds similar to what TVA uses at Kingston and five other coal plants.

TVA is still preparing plans for how it will remove the spilled ash from the river and nearby lands at the Kingston Fossil Plant and how it might alter fly ash storage at other coal plants, TVA spokesman John Moulton said.

Mr. Kilgore will discuss TVA's cleanup plans with the TVA board next Thursday during a meeting at the utility's Knoxville headquarters.

The TVA president said the changes made Thursday are designed to establish project management for the Kingston recovery effort, strengthen TVA engineering overall under Mr. Campbell and ensure continued leadership of TVA's major operations.

As part of the corporate realignment, Mr. Campbell, the current nuclear chief, will become the senior vice president in charge of all TVA fleet engineering.

"One of our goals is to improve the focus and execution of engineering across the TVA system," said Bill McCollum, TVA's chief operating officer.

Mr. McCollum also praised Mr. Swafford, who has a strong nuclear background over the past two decades and "is an excellent fit" to replace Mr. Campbell.