Reid Gardner Generating Station

The Reid Gardner Generating Station – located near Moapa, Nevada – has been a coal-fueled, steam-electric generating plant since 1965 when the first two operating units were installed. By 1983, Reid Gardner had added two more units. In 1976, an additional unit producing 100 megawatts was installed with GE turbine-generators and Foster Wheeler boilers. The 257 megawatt installed in 1983 also uses a Foster Wheeler boiler with a Westinghouse turbine generator. Currently, the California Department of Water Resources and NV Energy own the largest generating unit at the plant.

Over the years, each unit at Reid Gardner has experienced improvements from the original construction. Each unit has been retrofitted with natural gas igniters in an effort to reduce the amount of emissions produced during start-up. Each unit also has an over-fire air system and special burners in order to reduce the levels of nitrogen oxide emissions. A wet scrubber system captures sulfur oxides. The first unit installed in 1965 now has bag houses to remove over 99.9 percent of particulates released during the coal burning process.

More than 150 people work at the Reid Gardner Generating Station. The plant produces electricity that serves nearly 335,000 households in Nevada. Annual tax revenues from the company that owns Reid Gardner is approximately $34 million. This income is for schools, libraries and general county operations for Clark County. The coal used at the plant comes from Colorado, Utah and Wyoming mines. The continual use of scrubbing systems on each unit generator aids in reducing the levels of sulfur emission.

Despite the recent retrofitting of the units, reports have shown that there are risks to the health of residents because of the release of chemicals found in the toxic ash at the plant. Fine particle pollutions such as hexavalent chromium and asbestos are linked to serious health conditions from power plants that use coal. Other fine particle pollutions include a mixture of heavy metals, nitrogen oxides, soot and sulfur dioxides.

Other toxins proved dangerous to the workers at plants such as Reid Gardner.  Because of the extreme temperatures produced at a power plant, many of these structures included asbestos in their facilities or machines.  Though asbestos is an effective insulator, it can be deadly, causing diseases like asbestosis and mesothelioma in workers who breathe it in.