SACE | Southern Alliance for Clean Energy

Federal Licensing Board Briefed on Threats to South Florida’s Wetlands from FPL’s Proposed Turkey Point Nuclear Reactors


Local groups and concerned citizens continue to challenge federal licensing

CONTACT: Jennifer Rennicks, SACE,, 865-235-1448


Washington, DC (July 16, 2015) ///PRESS RELEASE/// Today a three-judge panel of the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC), the Atomic Safety Licensing Board, will hear arguments from those challenging FPL’s request for a federal license to build two additional nuclear reactors at their existing Turkey Point facility in Miami-Dade County. The hearing’s focus is on a contention filed in April that the draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) recently issued by the NRC fails to adequately discuss and analyze the potentially adverse impacts on wetlands and offers insufficient proposals for wetland mitigation. Their challenge noted that FPL is requesting authorization from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to discharge fill into approximately 1,000 acres of jurisdictional wetlands, some of which have unique ecological characteristics that greatly contribute to the general overall environmental health of the local ecosystem.

“We are arguing that the National Environmental Policy Act requires that the draft Environmental Impact Statement must include more than a simple listing of ‘possible’ or ‘potential’ mitigation measures and instead explain in sufficient detail how mitigation measures will effectively offset the anticipated impacts of the proposed Turkey Point expansion,” said Mindy Goldstein, director of Emory University School of Law’s Turner Environmental Law Clinic. “To allow the NRC staff to defer to the Corps to evaluate the proposed mitigation until after the final EIS is issued, contravenes the very purpose of NEPA and should be prohibited.”

The intervenors are the National Parks Conservation Association, the Southern Alliance for Clean Energy and local citizens from the Miami area represented by Jason Totoiu of the Everglades Law Center and Emory University School of Law’s Turner Environmental Law Clinic. The purpose of today’s administrative hearing is for the Board to determine whether the organizations sufficiently raised another legitimate concern. If accepted by the Board, the wetlands mitigation contention could be argued at a future evidentiary hearing along with their existing contention regarding contamination concerns posed by FPL’s proposed plans to use radial collector wells beneath Biscayne Bay. Previous oral argument was held in November 2010 when the joint intervenors originally moved to intervene in this licensing proceeding and were ultimately successful in doing so.

The project has experienced significant delays and cost increases and FPL has not even committed to building the two proposed Toshiba-Westinghouse AP1000 reactors. The federal licensing process has also been delayed and there is currently no tentative date for issuance of the license. Public comments on the draft EIS are due July 17, 2015 and the NRC estimates issuing the final EIS in February 2016.

“If the expansion of Turkey Point does occur, it would have profound and unacceptable environmental impacts to regional water resources, Biscayne and Everglades National Parks, wildlife, wetlands and threaten public health and safety,” said Sara Barczak, high risk energy choices program director with the Southern Alliance for Clean Energy, an intervening organization. “We hope the licensing board accepts our contention and that federal regulators and elected officials at all levels of government recognize that there are far more affordable, less destructive ways for FPL to meet energy demand while protecting the environment and addressing global climate change.”


Additional Information:

The Atomic Safety and Licensing Board Order for today’s hearing can be found here. The NRC is accepting written comments on the draft EIS until July 17, 2015. Public comments can be sent to For more information on the Turkey Point licensing process, visit the NRC.

For more information on the proposed new Turkey Point reactors, visit Southern Alliance for Clean Energy.

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