Valencia Generating Station
The Valencia Generating Station is located in Las Vegas, Nevada. Its only unit was completed in 1972 and the entire plant was capable of producing 20 megawatts via diesel fuel. It is owned by PNM and in 2005 the owners requested that the New Mexico Public Regulation Committee allow them to shut down plant operations. The Valencia Generating Station rarely saw use, though it met all safety regulations set forth by the federal and state government. The plant’s main role was as a backup energy source when needed, which allowed it to be in operation less than 1 percent of the time.
Though the Valencia Generating Station is no longer used, many former plant employees remain at risk for developing mesothelioma. Mesothelioma results from exposure to asbestos. When factories, mills, shipyards, and power plans began using asbestos for its heat retardant properties, many workers did not know that asbestos could cause cancer and other chronic health conditions, although factory and plant owners sometimes did, yet chose not to reveal the risks.
Today, it is commonly known that asbestos is a dangerous carcinogen and that it is responsible for the development of mesothelioma. This is because when asbestos fibers are released into the air, often through handling materials that contain asbestos, they are inhaled by unsuspecting workers. These fibers make their way inside the body through inhalation or ingestion, but are trapped in the lining surrounding organs, called the mesothelium. This causes aggravation and scarring over time, and cancerous cells eventually develop.
Mesothelioma symptoms take 20 to 50 years to become evident and even after they appear they are often subtle and can be easily mistaken for flu or bronchitis symptoms. Because patients are often already into the later stages by the time the symptoms manifest, treatment options are frequently limited or only meant to provide palliative care. Former employees of this or another power plant are commonly advised by the medical community to receive a complete screening for asbestos-related disease, despite the absence of symptoms.