Plant Kraft

The Kraft Power station in Port Wentworth, Georgia, is owned by the Southern Company. Kraft Power is a coal-fueled power generating facility, which is rated at 281,136 kilowatts of electrical power and uses approximately 485,000 tons of coal every year. The plant is situated near Savannah, Georgia. Kraft Power began operating in 1958, the second of two power stations constructed by Savannah Electric and Power Company. It was necessary to build the power plant because air conditioning had been invented and consumers needed more electricity in their homes. Ownership of the facility was deeded to the Southern Company in 1988, when it merged with Savannah Electric and Power Company. The four boilers at the power plant were all produced by between 1958 and 1972. Three of the boilers use bituminous coal, but the newest boiler is oil-driven. Since the Kraft facility is positioned upstream of the Savannah River, emissions from the Kraft station impact not only Port Wentworth, but also the large city of Savannah.  According to the National Resources Defense Council, the state of Georgia ranked 11thin the nation for amount of contaminated coal waste produced in 2005, with Plant Kraft contributing 50,000 tons of waste to the total.  Though that number is somewhat low relative to other Georgia power plants, it is still cause for concern, as the waste is contaminated with toxic heavy metals that, if not properly handled, can leak into the groundwater. But heavy metals are not the only contaminant at Plant Kraft.  Due to the heat resistance of the mineral, asbestos may have been used at Kraft, as it was in many other power plants throughout the United States. The need to safeguard machinery was the driving force behind the use of asbestos, but employees were placed in jeopardy of contracting serious health conditions due to asbestos exposure. Research has clearly demonstrated the relationship between exposure to asbestos and diseases such as asbestosis, mesothelioma, and other illnesses. As a result, the health of today’s workers is now guarded by legislation that mandates the method of handling and controlling asbestos. In years past, employees were often required to perform their work in an unfiltered environment rank with asbestos dust, without protective equipment. To make matters worse, if employees were not informed and supplied with decontamination facilities, they took the asbestos fibers home and thus their families were also exposed to the hazardous mineral.  Many are still suffering the toxic effects of this mineral decades after exposure. References: Georgia Power – Coal Tonnage Georgia Power – Facts and Figures