Duke Energy enhances its coal ash management operations
Duke Energy today announced the creation of a national panel of independent experts to help guide the company’s strategy around permanent coal ash storage solutions and a new, centralized internal organization to manage all coal combustion products, including coal ash.
The company is responding to lessons learned from the accidental spill of ash into the Dan River earlier this year and preparing for permanent closure of its 32 North Carolina ash basins.
“We are strengthening our operations and transitioning to ash basin closure strategies, including implementing North Carolina’s aggressive coal ash management law and complying with expected new federal standards around power plant waste streams,” said Duke Energy President and CEO Lynn Good. “Our new dedicated internal team, complemented by the perspective of an independent advisory board, positions Duke Energy to continue operating safely while we pursue smart long-term closure solutions for our ash basins.”
Independent experts provide additional guidance
A newly formed advisory panel of independent experts will provide valuable input from an outside perspective on the company’s closure plans and other challenges related to the management of coal combustion products.
The National Ash Management Advisory Board (NAMAB) is managed by the University of North Carolina at Charlotte (UNCC), and led by Dr. John Daniels, P.E., professor and chair of the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at the university.
The panel includes some of the nation’s most respected experts in engineering, waste management, environmental science and risk analysis. They will provide independent and objective analysis of the issues Duke Energy and the industry face when identifying safe, environmentally sound and permanent storage solutions for coal ash.
In addition to Dr. Daniels, who is an expert in coal ash, NAMAB’s members include:
- Dr. Susan E. Burns, P.E., Georgia Power Distinguished Professor, School of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Georgia Institute of Technology. Burns is a past member of the National Research Council Committee to Assess the Performance of Engineered Waste Containment Barriers and is nationally recognized for reuse of coal fly ash.
- Robert M. Deacy Sr., senior vice president, projects, Tennessee Valley Authority. Deacy has more than 30 years of experience in the utility industry. He has a wealth of hands-on experience and knowledge about nuclear, coal, pipeline, and oil and gas exploration and operations, as well as power plant construction, government and regulatory affairs, and community relations.
- Dr. Jeffrey Evans, P.E., professor of civil and environmental engineering, Bucknell University. Evans has more than 35 years of consulting, research and teaching. A nationally recognized expert on slurry walls for waste containment, he co-authored a textbook on hazardous waste management.
- Bob Jewell, research scientist for environmental and coal technologies at the Center for Applied Energy Research (CAER), University of Kentucky. He has more than 10 years of working with ash ponds, ash sampling and ash beneficiation, and is an expert in the geology and geochemistry of ash. Jewell is a CAER ash workshop leader.
- Dr. Garrick Louis, associate professor of systems and information engineering, University of Virginia. Past science and policy fellow at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, he is a nationally recognized expert on risk-based allocation of infrastructure investments and community engagement in infrastructure planning.
- Dr. Krishna Reddy, P.E., professor of civil and environmental engineering, University of Illinois at Chicago. He has more than 30 years of experience with polluted site assessment and remediation. He is a co-author of the Geoenvironmental Engineering textbook and developed a social sustainability evaluation matrix for remediation.
- Dr. Joyce Tsuji, board-certified toxicologist and principal scientist, Exponent Inc. A Fellow of the Academy of Toxicological Sciences, she has extensive experience in assessing the health and environmental risks of metals in coal ash and at mining and smelting sites. She served on expert panels on toxicology and health risks for the National Academy of Sciences/National Research Council, Institute of Medicine, and federal and state agencies. She worked with TVA in the aftermath of the Kingston ash spill.
- Dr. William E. Wolfe, P.E., professor emeritus, Ohio State University. Wolfe has more than 40 years of experience in consulting, research and teaching. He is nationally recognized for geotechnical engineering analysis and ash dam stability.
Dedicated Coal Combustion Product organization
The company also announced today a new Coal Combustion Product (CCP) organization. Coal combustion products include ash and synthetic gypsum, which are created or captured by generating electricity from a coal plant.
This dedicated team of engineers, environmental scientists, coal ash specialists and other experts will provide centralized management and governance for all of Duke Energy’s coal combustion production across the company. The CCP organization will oversee ash basin facility improvements that the company identified in a comprehensive review of the system, provide oversight of wastewater and cooling pond maintenance, and manage beneficial re-use opportunities for coal ash and synthetic gypsum.
The organization will be led by George Hamrick, who most recently served as site vice president for the Brunswick Nuclear Plant in Southport, N.C. Hamrick has more than 30 years of experience leading all aspects of facility management and operations in the nuclear field at Duke Energy.
John Elnitsky, senior vice president of ash basin strategy, will remain in his role leading the Ash Basin Strategic Action Team (ABSAT), which was formed in the days following the Dan River spill. Elnitsky and his expert team will continue to focus on long-term closure planning and projects, eventually integrating that work into the new CCP organization.
Both the ABSAT and CCP teams will report to Dhiaa Jamil, executive vice president and president of Regulated Generation. Jamil is responsible for all power generation in the regulated utilities, including nuclear, fossil and hydro generation; coal ash management; environmental, health and safety; and fuels and system optimization. Jamil has 33 years of experience in the energy industry.
“Our actions demonstrate Duke Energy’s ongoing commitment to doing the right thing for our customers and the communities we serve,” said Good. "The important work we’re doing to improve the management of coal combustion products, including closing dozens of ash basins with input from a national advisory board of experts, represents the standard of excellence we expect from all of our operations.”
More information on Duke Energy’s coal ash management operations and its response to the Dan River accident can be found at http://www.duke-energy.com/ash-management/
About Duke Energy
Headquartered in Charlotte, N.C., Duke Energy is a Fortune 250 company traded on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol DUK. More information about the company is available at: www.duke-energy.com.
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