One of the tallest chimneys in the world was toppled Thursday as part of a 5-year-old effort to remove and clean up what was once the Tennessee Valley Authority’s biggest coal power plant in Alabama.
The giant 1,001-foot-high smokestack at the Widows Creek Fossil Plant was destroyed by explosives in just 90 seconds, clearing the biggest remaining landmark at the 8-unit coal-fired plant on the Tennessee River. The demolition came more than five years after TVA shut down the last remaining unit at Widows Creek that ended six decades of coal-fired generation in Jackson County, Alabama.
TVA spokeswoman Malinda Hunter said the blasting subcontractor Dykon worked with demolition and environmental remediation contractor Brandenburg to topple the tower and still reclaim as much as possible of the steel and concrete used in the stack, which was originally built in 1977 to help lift smog emissions out of the local environment. Once processed, the reclaimed concrete from the stack will be used as fill material for the powerhouse basement and for overall site restoration, while the steel will be recycled.
TVA is spending $66 million to clear and return the Widows Creek plant to a brownfield site that can be redeveloped and reused for new development.