SACE | Southern Alliance for Clean Energy

Southern Alliance for Clean Energy Calls for Open and Transparent Investigation of St. Lucie Unit 2


Group Encourages A Comprehensive, Thorough and Public Examination of Reactor Before Restart

Contact: Jennifer Rennicks, Director of Policy & Communications, 865.235.1448,


Tampa, Fla. (February 24) – The Southern Alliance for Clean Energy (SACE) calls for an investigation of the condition of steam generators at Florida Power & Light’s (FPL) St. Lucie Unit 2 nuclear reactor during the upcoming refueling outage scheduled in March. St. Lucie Unit 2 has the most damaged steam generator tubes of any operating reactor in the country according to industry monitoring data as reported in a February 22 Tampa Bay Times story. FPL has intentionally increased the power rating of the reactor, thereby stressing the already-damaged steam generator tubes. These actions could have serious implications for safety, regulatory oversight and, in the long-run, FPL customers’ dollars.


Dr. Stephen A. Smith, Executive Director of Southern Alliance for Clean Energy (SACE), and George Cavros, SACE’s Florida Energy Policy Attorney, and Arnie Gundersen, nuclear energy expert, will be available to take questions from the media today at 1:30PM EST. To hear the recording of February 24th’s Media Availability, click here.


Media Statement from Dr. Stephen A. Smith, Executive Director of Southern Alliance for Clean Energy (SACE):


“Our first concern is for the more than one million people that live within a 50-mile radius of the St Lucie Unit 2 reactor. While I appreciate that FPL is highly motivated to return the reactor to service for financial reasons, safety must be their highest priority. There have been many lessons learned from the nuclear industry’s experience at the troubled and similar San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station (SONGS) reactors, which closed in 2013 due to the damage and failure of recently replaced steam generators. FPL’s St. Lucie Unit 2 reactor has shown unprecedented damage to a key component, and failure could be catastrophic. We know more today than before; safety must be job number one here.


Our second concern is to understand why the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) has allowed significant modifications to the reactor design and increased stress from power uprates in light of the new information. We support the requirement of a 100% inspection of St. Lucie Unit 2’s damaged steam generators. We strongly believe that this inspection must be made public before the reactor is returned to service to assure full and independent review of the condition.


Our third concern is that FPL has misled the public and political leaders about the advantages of using over one billion dollars of customers’ money to increase the power output at the St. Lucie reactors, with knowledge that it could intensify the damage and likely shorten the life of the steam generators at St. Lucie Unit 2. We believe that because the capital for this uprate was provided by customers, and at no risk to the FPL shareholders because of state legislation known as early nuclear cost recovery, actions taken by FPL were reckless and will likely end up costing consumers millions more dollars. While FPL continues to downplay the significance of this action and the damage they are causing, we believe the Florida legislature should open an investigation into this abuse of power and the unintended consequences of the broken nuclear cost recovery act.”

Links to Resources Cited in February 24th’s Media Availability

  • NRC’s August 13, 2012 report (Accession No. ML12219A126) documenting damage in St. Lucie Unit 2 through a steam generator tube inspection service in 2011
  • NRC’s January 27, 2014 report (Accession No. ML14013A247) noting that degradation has since 2011
  • NRC spokesman, Scott Burnell, noting similarities between San Onofre and St. Lucie nuclear plants
  • Southern California Edison (operator of SONGS) comparing San Onofre and St. Lucie nuclear plants (starting on page 9)
  • NRC spokesman Victor Dricks explaining that while “damage so soon to these tubes is unusual, it is not unprecedented. It has happened at other plants. The St. Lucie plant in Florida, for example. In that case it was caused by rubbing between the tubes and other support structure”
  • NRC spokesman Dricks noting unusual wear on tubes at St. Lucie
  • Fairewinds Report: March 2012
  • Fairewinds Report: April 2012
  • Fairewinds Report: May 2012
  • Fairewinds Report: July 2012
  • Fairewinds VIDEO on San Onofre: May 2012


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Founded in 1985, the Southern Alliance for Clean Energy is a nonprofit organization that promotes responsible energy choices that create global warming solutions and ensure clean, safe, and healthy communities throughout the Southeast. Learn more at