Is Another Fukushima Nuclear Disaster Brewing in Eastern Tennessee?

Boone Dam AerialBoone Dam, Tennessee - Image | Bristol Herald Courier

The nuclear disaster in Fukushima, Japan rages on with disasters recurring each day at the plant – according to a Japanese Nuclear Expert. For the uninitiated, the nuclear reactors at Fukushima, Japan were inundated by a tsunami on March 11, 2011, causing three of the plant’s six nuclear reactors to go into meltdown. The situation is still not contained and radioactive materials are spewing from the site every day poisoning the waters of the Pacific Ocean.

Is the same scenario brewing in Eastern Tennessee along the South Fork Holston River? The Boone Dam is approximately 19 miles above the confluence of the North and South Forks of the Holston River near Kingsport TN. October 20, 2014, a sinkhole was discovered at the toe of the dam that allowed water to seep through. According to WCYB News 5, the lake level was lowered earlier than normal as a precautionary measure.

Boone Dam Seepage

Boone Dam Detail of Seepage Problem – Image | TVA

According to WJHL, on April 28, 2015,  [T]he head of the nation’s largest public utility… TVA President Bill Johnson toured Boone Dam [and] said water was moving through the base of the earth-filled portion of the dam carrying sediment… “we do have water coming through the dam because the sinkhole has sunk further,” Johnson said pointing to a section of caved-in parking lot at the base of Boone Dam… Johnson said it is essential for TVA to figure out how to stop the flow of water through the base… because continued flow of sediment-laden lake water could destabilize the dam.

According to the Kingsport Times News on April 29, 2015, “TVA has spent millions of dollars looking for the fix and is likely to spend millions more”, Johnson said, adding “cost is not a factor”.

The problem is, aside from several good size towns – including Knoxville, TN – that would be affected by the failure of this dam, there are two nuclear reactors downstream from Boone Dam, the Watts Bar Nuclear Plant and the Sequoyah Nuclear Plant. As the water moves downstream, it could inundate those plants as surely as the Fukushima plant was inundated by the tsunami.

Watts Bar Nuclear Generating Station

Watts Bar Nuclear Generating Station – Image | TVA

Well, the news is not all bad. A source in the industry who wished to remain anonymous told NoozSaurus “Bad news for TVA, but no danger to the public from radiation, as the TVA plants are PWRs (Pressurized Water Reactors), with the radioactive loop being isolated from the circulating water loop. It is a Westinghouse design, designed specifically to combat a loss of coolant scenario.”

Our source went on to ask a very pointed question, “The real question here, is who the hell would site a nuke plant along a limestone base??? My guess is that Bechtel was the original design engineer, they have done things like this in the past.”

I suspect the answer to the question posed in the title is, no, we shouldn’t worry about a Fukushima happening in Tennessee, but where else in the U.S. are there improperly designed and cited nuclear reactors that wouldn’t fare as well as Watts Bar and Sequoyah.

Source: ENENews

About the Author

Tim Black
Tim Black
Tim Black is a software developer, author, day trader and real estate investor. He's been known to do some rock climbing, backpacking, off-roading, shooting and keyboard playing. He spends much of his time in the Dallas TX area. In addition to NoozSaurus, Tim writes the occasional guest blog at and I have a wonderful wife and BFF of 38 years, two awesome kids, one awesome foster kid, two awesome sons-in-law and several dozen kids that call me Daddo. :) Yes, God has richly blessed me. If you want to know more about me, message me and we’ll do coffee. I like coffee. :)

4 Comments on "Is Another Fukushima Nuclear Disaster Brewing in Eastern Tennessee?"

  1. As one who is trained in the nuclear field, I am getting very tired of the fear mongering from the Fukushima Nuclear Accident. No person has died from this accident, there has been no increase in the rate of cancer from it or other medical issues. The amount of radiation that is leaking into the ocean is in the miliseiverts and is not enough to actually cause permanent damage to a person. Research has actually recently come out proving that low amounts of radiation help prevent cancer. Makes sense when you consider we use radiation therapy to kill cancer.

    • Avatar Michael Mann | May 6, 2015 at 11:26 pm |

      I agree with Austin this fear mongering bunk has got to stop, it helps no-one but if believed could hurt many. Unnecessarily hyped fear and anxiety can have real negative effects. The source is not credible. (fear mongering conspiracy site) For real Fukushima information without the hype, try

  2. Avatar Brian Thompson | May 6, 2015 at 4:39 pm |

    Maybe you should stick with what you know…which is definitely not this.

  3. Avatar Turbo Ghost | May 7, 2015 at 8:09 pm |

    As mentioned previously, your source is not credible at all! I live very close and downstream from Boone Dam. If the dam had a catastrophic failure right now, it would do a lot of damage to the immediate area, most specifically the homes located along the river and Warrior’s Path State Park. Immediately after that would be Fort Patrick Henry Dam which would have to open its’ floodgates but, would probably experience overflow. Eastman Chemical would “probably” sustain some damage along the river section but, it’s quite possible by that time the area of the river would have absorbed the volume of water from Boone Lake. As for Watts Bar, it’s over 150 miles away! Considering the other lakes along the way such as Cherokee Lake and the amount of acreage of the lakes and the river itself, I would be surprised if Watts Bar would experience a rise of more than a few inches if even that much!
    As for Boone Dam itself, the sinkhole is adjacent to the dam in the natural land-mass but, has the potential to cause damage to the dam over time and TVA is taking steps to handle the situation. That is why the lake has been lowered dramatically. This takes pressure off the leaking areas and also protects the downstream areas in the unlikely event of a catastrophic failure. Your story is way overblown as are many these days. Feel free to break out a map and do a little research or maybe even watch the press conferences made by TVA and add in just a little common sense and then and only then, rewrite your story!

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