Kingston Fossil Plant

Kingston Fossil Plant, commonly known as Kingston Steam Plant, is a Tennessee Valley Authority 1.7-GW coal-burning power plant located at 35°53′54″N 84°31′08″W / 35.89833°N 84.51889°W / 35.89833; -84.51889Coordinates: 35°53′54″N 84°31′08″W / 35.89833°N 84.51889°W / 35.89833; -84.51889 in Roane County, just outside Kingston, Tennessee on the shore of Watts Bar Lake.

Begun in 1951, it was the largest coal-fired power plant in the world when completed in 1955. It was built primarily to provide electricity to nuclear power installations at nearby Oak Ridge. The plant is a popular site for birdwatchers, as many waterfowl come to the settling and treatment ponds nearby.


The plant has nine generating units: units 1–4, rated at 175 MWe each (launched into service in 1954), and units 5–9, rated at 200 MWe each (launched in 1955). It produces about ten billion kilowatt hours of electricity from some five million tons of coal each year. All nine generating units are equipped with cold-side selective catalytic reduction systems to reduce nitrogen oxide emissions that contribute to the formation of ozone.

In 1976, its original stacks were taken out of service (though left standing) and replaced by a pair of 1,000.0 feet (304.8 m) tall chimneys, one for units 1–5 and one for units 6–9.

2008 spill

In December 2008, an impoundment at the plant failed, releasing 1.1 billion gallons (4.2 million m³) of coal fly ash slurry that covered up to 300 acres (1.2 km2) of the surrounding land, damaging homes and flowing into nearby waterways such as the Emory River and Clinch River, tributaries of the Tennessee River. This was the largest accidental release of coal fly ash in the United States.

EPA compliance agreement

On April 14, 2011, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced a settlement with the Tennessee Valley Authority to resolve alleged Clean Air Act violations at 11 of its coal-fired plants in Alabama, Kentucky, and Tennessee. Under the terms of the agreement, the entire Kingston plant will be affected:

  • Units 1–9 will continuously operate selective catalytic reduction (SCR) devices to reduce their emissions of NOx

Building Activity

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