We’ve all heard the saying, “what goes up, must come down.” The adage held true for Luminant’s Valley Unit 3 boiler, which came down with a boom around 9:00 a.m. today in Fannin and Grayson counties. Imploding the unit is the first significant step in the demolition and recycling effort of the plant’s three inactive, retired natural gas-powered steam units.
Employees, retirees and local business leaders gathered to watch as the 1970s-era unit was imploded using 25 charges and 50 pounds of dynamite. Although the unit toppled in seconds, a lifetime of memories remain for those who worked at Valley, according to David McClure, retired Valley Power Plant supervisor.
“I started working at Valley Unit 1 when it opened in 1962 and it meant a lot to me to have a job near my home in Fannin County,” David said. “I miss working at Valley, and most of all, I miss the people. I worked with a fantastic group of guys and everyone did a terrific job maintaining the units.”
Crews will cut and separate sections of Unit 3 into smaller pieces for recycling. Roughly 95 percent of the materials, including steel, copper and parts and pieces of large equipment will be sent to recycling centers around the world.
In the coming months, the other two units will also come down separately.
The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality has granted Luminant an air permit to potentially build two natural gas simple cycle combustion turbines at the Valley site. By seeking these permits, Luminant is taking action to preserve the potential of developing generating capacity. There has been no final decision to build the units.
Valley Fast Facts:
- Valley Unit 3 began commercial operation in 1971 – the same year Apollo 14 landed on the moon – and was retired in 2010. Units 1 and 2 will be imploded in early 2016.
- Valley Units 1, 2 and 3 operating capacity and homes powered: 1,115 MW – enough to power about 558,000 on an annual basis and 223,000 during the summer peak.
- During full operation, roughly 90 fulltime employees helped power Texas at Valley.
Watch a dramatic, up-close GoPro video clip from the implosion below.