Kyger Creek Station
Kyger Creek Power Station is a very large coal-fired electrical power plant located on the banks of the Ohio River near the town of Cheshire. It has been in existence since 1955 and is only two miles downstream from the more modern Gavin Power Plant. The chimney stack at the Kyger Creek facility is a landmark in and of itself. It is one of the tallest stacks in the world, topping 1,000 ft.The facility is operated by the Ohio Valley Electric Corporation, which is itself owned by several larger energy firms. One of the Ohio Valley Electric Corporation’s own subsidiaries, the Indiana-Kentucky Electrical Corporation, is the actual owner of the Kyger Creek station.
In the 1950s the U.S. Atomic Energy Commission was preparing the installment of a nuclear facility in the region and this prompted the construction of the Kyger Creek facility, as a great amount of energy would be needed at the nuclear reactor site. All excess electrical current would be made available to the public, and this is why such an ambitious plan to install boiler units capable of producing in excess of one gigawatt of electricity was proposed.
This also prompted the beginnings of the Ohio Valley Electric Corporation and the Indiana-Kentucky Electrical Corporation; years later many nuclear power reactors were shut down or made more efficient, meaning less electricity was needed to operate them. As a result the partnership between the owners of Kyger Creek Power Station and the U.S. Department of Energy was eventually dissolved and the station today operates primarily as a direct source of electrical current for residential customs and industrial businesses.
The Kyger Creek facility was built in the 1950s and this means that asbestos was very likely used as the primary insulating material. In power stations, especially those that use coal-fired boilers, walls, ceiling, floors and even employees must be adequately protected from extreme temperatures. Asbestos fibers were once commonly covered in coated cloth and wrapped around steam pipes and used in the making of fire retardant walls and ceilings.
When older power stations begin to show their age, cracks in walls and ceilings form, allowing loose asbestos fibers to become free-floating. Inhalation of these fibers was not widely known to be a serious issue until the 1980s, when studies conclusively linking asbestos to a number of illnesses being reported by former employees at this type of facility became public knowledge. Mesothelioma, asbestosis and other forms of lung cancer are caused by long-term inhalation of asbestos; however, the symptoms may not show for decades.