South Florida Says No to New Nukes, Yes to Solar!

Guest Blog | May 12, 2011 | Energy Policy, Nuclear

On April 30, SACE joined Citizens Allied for Safe Energy, the Tropical Audubon Society, South Florida Clean Energy Coalition, Save it Now Glades!, Greenpeace, and others in south Florida for a clean energy rally in Biscayne Bay National Park. The timing of the rally was significant in that it was held to commemorate the 25th anniversary date of the Chernobyl disaster, and to demonstrate solidarity with the Japanese who are still struggling through the ongoing disaster at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant. A  moment of silence, followed by a beautiful flute solo by musician and activist Laura Sue “the Silver Nightingale,” was observed for of all of those affected by the Chernobyl and Fukushima disasters.

Mock Evacuation Flotilla
Mock Evacuation Flotilla

In addition to commemoration, the event also aimed to raise awareness and bring attention to Florida Power and Light’s proposal to build two additional nuclear reactors at their Turkey Point power complex. The reactors, visible across the Bay, provided the perfect backdrop for the speakers as well as a mock kayak evacuation demonstration prior to the rally, and served as a somber reminder of how close these reactors are to the 2.4 million people living in Miami-Dade county. The expert speakers gave compelling testimony, all tying together the same message: “No new nuclear: We need solar in the Sunshine State!” Their reasons were many, and focused on health and environmental impacts, water consumption, lack of emergency preparedness, poor and unrealistic evacuation plans, and the undue financial burden placed on taxpayers and ratepayers in the form of federal loan guarantees and early cost recovery.

After the rally, everyone gathered at the park to enjoy a community potluck, accompanied by additional performances by the Silver Nightingale and Bob Welch. “When the Turkey Points at You,” an original piece Bob wrote about Turkey Point, was also preformed. You can view the music video for that song here on YouTube. Overall, the day’s activities reflected a renewed energy and vigor in the community to stop Florida Power and Light’s plans two build the additional reactors.

Rallying and Chanting:

South Floridians are demanding that Florida Power and Light consider safe and renewable resources like solar and wind. They are serious about safety, and demand that clear and realistic evacuation plans are put into place to protect their families in the case of a nuclear accident. The legitimacy of these worries are exemplified by the current situation in Japan. A large earthquake and tsunami may not be a great threat in south Florida, but loss of power to the plant is not unlikely and has happened in the past, as with Hurricane Andrew in 1992. Although backup power kept cooling systems going during the 5 day power outage, this serves as a very real reminder that worst-case scenarios are difficult to foresee and plan for fully. South Floridians are urging decision makers to stop and learn from the Fukushima disaster before proceeding with licensing for new reactors in Florida or elsewhere in the Southeast.

For more information, please check out the following resources:

Mandy with Mayor Phillip Stoddard of South Miami
Mandy with Mayor Phillip Stoddard of South Miami
  • SACE’s scoping comments from 2010 outline technical reasons to oppose the proposal for two new reactors;
  • This list of contentions was submitted by parties intervening into the operating license of the proposed new reactors;
  • A Press release detailing which contentions were accepted by the Atomic Safety and Licensing Board;
  • Mayor Phillip Stoddard’s letter to the editor questions the lack of emergency preparedness; and
  • A good, short media piece that covered the event.
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