Company asks court to muzzle old quarterback. It seems the company doesn’t want the old quarterback to talk about any of this. The Jefferson County, Alabama, Circuit Court recently granted the company’s request for a temporary restraining order to keep him from talking after negotiations over a severance package broke down. It’s probably safe to assume the severance package bound him to secrecy and included payments for his cooperation and silence. That seems to be how the company rolls. Mississippi Power’s ex CEO, who was relieved following Kemper’s early cost overruns and construction delays, has been mum about his experiences. He got a consulting agreement – presumably to advise what not to do. Maybe the sound of silence is getting more golden as the plant’s problems and cost mounts.
The old quarterback could talk about what happened in 2012 when they discovered unexpected gasifier refractory failures at the fabrication site. The refractory (ceramic brick) is supposed to insulate and protect the steel reactor shell from the red hot burning lignite and its high pressure combustion gasses. If the refractory doesn’t do its job, it is not a trivial problem. It’s a potential disaster. If the refractory fails, the steel reactor can melt and release hot ash and toxic gasses at high pressure. In other words, it explodes. Refractory failures go to the reactor heart of the proprietary process that was developed, tested, and supposedly proved at the company’s pilot plant. What went wrong between the tiny pilot plant and the huge (supposedly) commercial plant? Scale up too great? Who knows? Things almost always go wrong. There is always the unexpected. That’s why it’s prudent to take it step by step and go from pilot plant to semi works plant to commercial plant. But there wasn’t time. There were tax credits with short strings.