The Tennessee valley authority was established in
1933 by president Roosevelt as a way to provide jobs
and electricity to the impoverished Appalachian region.
The Tennessee Valley is an area of approximately 41,000
square miles and lies mostly in Tennessee but also
includes parts of the six other states: Kentucky,
Virginia, North Carolina, Georgia, Alabama and Mississippi.
As World War II broke out, the TVA
began one of the largest hydropower construction programs
ever undertaken, to provide power for critical war
industries. The main industry located in the valley
was Alcoa (the Aluminum Company of America) south
of Knoxville, which during the war was the largest
aluminum manufacturer in the world, providing aluminum
to bomb and airplane factories throughout the country.During
its construction peak in 1942, 12 hydroelectric projects
and a steam plant were under construction at the same
time, and over 28,000 were employed in their design
The TVA power was also critical for the work of a
secret project set up in an just south of Norris Dam
in 1942. It was part of a larger effort code-named
the Manhattan Project—the program that produced
the first atomic bomb. To manufacture the nuclear
materials needed for the bomb, the government built
an entire city called Oak Ridge in the hills of Tennessee.
The location was chosen for two reasons, because of
its proximity to the TVA dams which could produce
the massive amount of power needed to fuel the elements
of nuclear-materials production: the centrifuge and
the electromagnetic and gaseous-diffusion processes.
But also because of its location near a fresh water
source, required for cooling the heat intensive Nuclear-materials
production, Oak Ridge could satisfy both requirements.
For three years the Manhattan Project worked 24 hours
a day towards its goals, using millions of kilowatts
of TVA energy for a project that wasn’t even
publicly acknowledged until August 1945, when the
bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki.
Dam was completed in 1936 and Fontana
dam in 1944, click for a photographic survey of
information used for this overview is from the TVA
official website and libary of congress sources, http://www.tva.gov