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Sulfur Dioxide

Sulfur dioxide (SO2) is a pollutant gas produced by various human activities, including ore processing, petroleum refining, the operation of industrial boilers, and the burning of oil and coal at power plants. Although natural processes like volcanic activity and biological decay are responsible for half of the world’s atmospheric sulfur, emissions caused by human activity far exceed natural emissions in the developed countries.

Sulfur dioxide is a respiratory irritant that can be harmful at high concentrations when breathed by people who are very young, very old, or already suffering from health problems. It can also damage vegetation, corrode building materials, and contribute to the production of airborne particulates and acid rain.

Sulfur dioxide emissions at TVA power plants

See raw data for this chart

Year Total
1974 2212137
1975 2144410
1976 2291759
1977 2303453
1978 1905687
1979 1690420
1980 1586641
1981 1501419
1982 1099877
1983 1043379
1984 948178
1985 1124318
1986 1167362
1987 1145231
1988 1226026
1989 1101335
1990 1095038
1991 1063415
1992 1125252
1993 1248528
1994 1123692
1995 875786
1996 876588
1997 880129
1998 777236
1999 775702
2000 727041
2001 608570
2002 550595
2003 585055
2004 492610
2005 460041
2006 452802
2007 374219
2008 335771
2009 198711
2010 220269
2011 210131
2012 140615

*Data includes 31 tons from 2000 to 2012 for units that produce less than 25 megawatts that are not required to reported to the Environmental Protection Agency.

What TVA is doing about SO2 emissions

TVA has reduced its sulfur dioxide emissions by 94 percent since 1977, in part by switching to low-sulfur coal at some fossil plants and equipping 60 percent of its coal-fired capacity with scrubbers. A second scrubber was installed at the Kingston fossil plant in 2010. The TVA board approved scrubbers at the Gallatin fossil plant in 2011, and TVA continues to upgrade and assess its entire fossil fleet.

TVA staff continue to look for better, more cost-effective ways to reduce TVA’s emissions while continuing to supply reliable, affordable electricity and manage debt in the light of evolving emission reduction requirements.

Emissions by plant

Allen

Brownsville

Bull Run

Caledonia

Colbert

Cumberland

Gallatin

Gleason

John Sevier

Johnsonville

Kemper

Kingston

Lagoon Creek

Magnolia

Marshall

Paradise

Shawnee

Southaven

Widows Creek

 

Emissions by type

Carbon Dioxide

Nitrogen Oxides

Ozone

Sulfur Dioxide

Greenhouse Gases

Toxics Release Inventory (TRI)

           
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