TVA

Former TVA manager gets probation in plot to provide nuclear info to China

A former senior manager for the Tennessee Valley Authority, recruited by an operative for the Chinese government seeking to buy information on American nuclear information, will avoid any time in prison for his activity, reports the News Sentinel.

Chief U.S. District Judge Tom Varlan on Thursday turned aside a bid by federal prosecutors to have nuclear scientist Ching Ning Guey, 63, imprisoned and instead sentenced the former TVA executive to a three-year probationary term.

Guey was among a half dozen nuclear engineering experts working in the American nuclear power production industry who were recruited by operative Szuhsiung “Allen” Ho, 67, as part of what Assistant U.S. Attorney Charles Atchley Jr., has called a plot by China to garner nuclear technological know-how the country was not allowed to access.

But Guey appears to be the only one of those experts who was charged, and court records indicate it was Guey who agreed to help prosecutors snare Ho, who has since confessed guilt and provided the U.S. government with intelligence on China’s nuclear production capabilities.Ho was sentenced last year to a two-year prison term.

Court records show Ho recruited Guey in 2013 to travel to the People’s Republic of China and, on China’s dime, speak at a “technological exchange” at which he disclosed three reports on nuclear safety analysis. He was paid $15,500, which he has since forfeited to the federal government, according to statements in court.

The reports he provided were not classified but fell under the regulatory auspices of a law that bars certain countries considered nuclear bad actors, including China, from gleaning without permission of the federal government.

Trump nominates GOP activist John Ryder to TVA board

Memphis attorney John L. Ryder, who has served as general counsel at the Republican National Committee for the past five years and as the GOP’s national committeeman from Tennessee, has been nominated to fill the last open seat on the Tennessee Valley Authority, reports the Times Free Press.

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Bill pending in Congress would return 76 acres of TN land to Cherokees

U.S. Rep. Chuck Fleischmann says he expects a House floor vote “very soon” on legislation that would effectively make 76 acres of land in Monroe County a part of the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians reservation, reports the Times Free Press.

The property includes land that is currently home to the Sequoyah Birthplace Museum in Vonore and tracts once part of two major Cherokee towns that were tribal centers before the forced removal of Cherokees to Oklahoma 180 years ago. Much of the Cherokee homeland in the area was covered with water when the 129-foot-high Tellico Dam became operational in 1979.

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Senate confirms four Trump nominees to TVA board

The U.S. Senate has confirmed four of President Donald Trump’s nominees for positions on the Tennessee Valley Authority’s nine-member board of directors, reports the Times Free Press.

Among those approved was Jeff Smith, deputy lab director for operations at Oak Ridge National Laboratory, who was named to one of the five-year terms. Smith was the lone new appointee from Tennessee to the board that oversees TVA operations in all or parts of seven Southeastern states.

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U.S. Senate panel hears from Trump nominees to TVA board

A U.S. Senate subcommittee heard testimony Tuesday from President Trump’s four nominees to the TVA Board of Directors. Jeffrey Smith, deputy director of operations at Oak Ridge National Laboratory and the only Tennessean among the four, emphasized the need for clean energy in recruiting new business investment within the region, reports WPLN.  No vote was taken.

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TVA year-end bonuses average $10,970 per employee

The Tennessee Valley Authority next week will distribute year-end performance bonuses averaging $10,970 for each of more than 10,000 employees, reports the Times Free Press.

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Affidavits say records on Kingston coal ash cleanup were intentionally destroyed

Three supervisors – two construction foremen and a TVA-paid overseer – say in affidavits filed in U.S. District Court they saw separate instances in which Tom Bock, the man tasked with protecting workers at the nation’s largest coal ash spill,  intentionally destroyed or skewed air monitoring results and knowingly endangered workers, reports the News Sentinel.

Bock served as safety manager for Jacobs Engineering, an international government contractor.

The firm was tapped by TVA and approved by the EPA and Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation to manage the clean-up of the massive coal ash spill at the TVA Kingston Fossil Fuel Power Plant in the Swan Pond community of Roane County in December 2008.

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Trump picks 4 nominees to TVA board (1 from TN)

The White House announced today that President Donald Trump will nominate four men to fill vacancies on the Tennessee Valley Authority Board of Directors – one each from the states of Alabama, Georgia, Kentucky and Tennessee.

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TVA ratepayers may pay contractor’s legal bills in coal ash lawsuit

After unsuccessfully using the Tennessee Valley Authority as a legal shield, a global government contractor accused of fatally endangering workers at the site of the nation’s largest coal ash disaster wants TVA ratepayers to pay its legal bills, according to court records reviewed for a News Sentinel report.

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TVA board approves 1.5 percent electricity rate increase, $10B budget

The Tennessee Valley Authority Board of Directors on Wednesday approved a $10.37 billion budget for its 2018 fiscal year that includes a 1.5 percent rate increase for electricity customers, reports the News Sentinel.

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