Modern Marvels The Tennessee Valley Authority

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NARRATOR: The Tennessee Valley Authority is the only New Deal construction agency to become a permanent part of the U.S. government. TVA still exists to manage and maintain its ingenious network of multi-purpose dams. These dams have worked flawlessly. Flooding is a thing of the past. Billions of dollars in property damage has been avoided.

aerials of coal barges and power tugs

The Tennessee river is now a vital cargo artery. Barges move efficiently along the river, ultimately connecting with the Mississippi and the world of international trade.

Auto assembly line

The Tennessee Valley continues to be an industrial powerhouse. Cheap hydroelectricity has turned a valley of struggling farmers into one of America's greatest manufacturing hubs.

Aerial of coal plant

TVA has continued to face controversy--particularly from environmentalists. The agency built coal-fired power plants after world War Two, which supported the destructive practice of strip mining.

nuclear plant aerial

earthen dam aerial

TVA also expanded into the contentious world of nuclear power. And, one of its dams has pushed a tiny fish, the snail darter, toward extinction.

fly over spillway and power lines

Still, TVA's system of dams remains an un-equaled feat of civil engineering. Their supply of power has been steady, unwavering, for decades.

Generator repair footage

TVA's first generator, unit one at Norris Dam, worked like a Swiss watch until its first overhaul 58 years after going on line.

walking inside penstock with flashlight

The giant penstocks--where 31-thousand gallons of water thunder every second to meet the electric turbines--have withstood the test of time.

Bowmaster looks at dam

The men and women of TVA built their dams to last.

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