Talking Turkey: FPL’s proposed new reactors face (yet) another setback

This blog was written by Sara Barczak, former Regional Advocacy Director with the Southern Alliance for Clean Energy.

Guest Blog | November 23, 2015 | Energy Policy, Nuclear

As we offer up our thanks during Thanksgiving week, we wanted to THANK YOU for all that you’ve done to help say “no” to FPL’s ill-advised pursuit of possibly building two new nuclear reactors at their existing Turkey Point plant near Homestead, Florida ~25 miles from Miami. This turkey-themed holiday also gave us another opportunity to share two of our favorite memes!

How have you all helped thwart FPL’s plans? There have been many ways over the years but most recently the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC), the agency overseeing the federal licensing of these reactors, announced that they received so many substantive comments from the public and other agencies, nearly 11,000 (wow!), they were extending their review of the environmental impact statement (EIS) to address those comments. They anticipated this would take at least an additional 7 months: instead of finalizing the EIS in February 2016, the NRC now estimates October 2016, at the earliest. So thank you for ensuring that concerned voices are being heard!

FPL’s Turkey Point proposed expansion has faced other hurdles that our supporters have contributed to in various ways. During the 2015 nuclear cost recovery hearings before the Florida Public Service Commission (PSC), the price tag jumped again to a staggering $20 billion and the estimated levelized cost is now 17 cents per kilowatt hour (kWh), nearly six times higher than energy efficiency at less than 3 cents per kWh. Once again, public outrage at the unfair practice of charging their customers in advance for costs associated with new nuclear generation, often referred to as Florida’s “nuclear tax,” has prompted the media to pay attention and many concerned stakeholders to take action. Several local leaders challenged the PSC to hold hearings in South Florida and have consistently spoken out against the expansion. The City of Miami intervened for the first time. And now some state lawmakers are again trying to repeal this anti-consumer legislation (let’s not forget that Duke Energy customers have been burned too from “pre-paid” costs they have been forced to dole out for the shelved Levy Co. reactors and the now-closed Crystal River reactor). Though the PSC once again succumbed to the big power companies’ bidding, they’re finally getting scrutinized for doing so.

Your concerns about the serious water issues affecting the existing two Turkey Point reactors is also bringing greater attention to the massive impacts that expanding this facility will have on South Florida’s already threatened water supplies. Hence our “Unhappy Couple” meme — the current reactors are water guzzling and the proposed reactors will not only guzzle more water but are already unfairly picking ratepayers’ pockets!

Lastly, a big thank you to those who have already signed this petition (also en Espanol) opposing the federal licensing of the proposed Turkey Point reactors. For those of you who haven’t yet, please sign today and spread the word. It is long past time for the big power companies, elected officials, regulators and others to realize that Floridians want clean, safe affordable energy options, such as solar and energy efficiency, that are not vulnerable to the threats posed by climate change. Together we are making a difference. Happy Thanksgiving!

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