Growing Opposition to FPL’s Proposed Nuke Reactors

George Cavros | November 19, 2010 | Press Releases

Growing Opposition to FPL’s Proposed New Turkey Point Nuclear ReactorsLocal groups and concerned citizens challenge federal licensing of utility plan that
threatens public health, the environment and economy
Homestead, Fla.–At a press conference today, concerned citizens and organizations expressed their concerns about the serious economic, environmental and public health impacts that Florida Power & Light’s (FPL) costly proposal to build two additional nuclear reactors will mean for the region. The additional nuclear expansion is proposed for the existing Turkey Point facility, which threatens Biscayne Bay and Biscayne National Park. The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission’s (NRC) three-judge panel, the Atomic Safety Licensing Board, will hear arguments today at Homestead City Hall from those challenging FPL’s request for a federal license.

“The surrounding communities are at great risk from FPL’s proposal including the Miami area and the Florida Keys. Turkey Point has already harmed this area in terms of public health, the environment and our economy. Building more reactors does nothing but make an already unacceptable situation worse,” said South Miami Mayor Phillip Stoddard, a director with Citizens Allied for Safe Energy, one of the petitioners. “Of utmost concern to me is that there are serious deficiencies with the current evacuation plan should there be an accident. Families, children, our friends and neighbors could be stuck in a snarl of traffic as they are exposed to radiation. Profit is being put ahead of people. This is unjust and cannot be tolerated any further.”

The purpose of today’s administrative hearing is for the Board to determine whether the organizations sufficiently raised legitimate concerns, warranting an evidentiary hearing in the future. The groups believe that regulators ultimately should reject FPL’s proposal to build two new reactors due to the further harm it would cause to public health, safety of communities located near the plant, and further harm the region’s limited water resources and sensitive environmental ecosystems. A decision is expected in January 2011.

The organizations involved have challenged FPL’s proposed plans to use radial collector wells beneath Biscayne Bay that would use much needed fresh water from the system, the proposed use of millions of gallons of reclaimed water per day that would otherwise be used for Everglades restoration, the loss of several hundred acres of wetlands to accommodate miles of new transmission lines, lack of planning for future potential sea level rise that would adversely impact the operations of the facility, FPL’s cursory treatment of the potential cumulative impacts of the proposed project, lack of adequate safety and evacuation plans and methods for managing radioactive waste, among other important issues of concern.

“We wouldn’t stand for a nuclear power plant to be built next to the Statue of Liberty or the Lincoln Memorial; both are national park units, so why would we allow a nuclear power plant to double its size next to Biscayne National Park,” said Kahlil Kettering, Biscayne Restoration Program Analyst for the National Parks Conservation Association and intervenor. “Biscayne is the largest marine national park in the country and is a treasure for all Americans that should be protected for our children and grandchildren to enjoy. Turkey Point’s nuclear operations have negatively impacted Biscayne Bay’s water salinity and the habitat that is vital for the ecological productivity of the Bay and nuclear expansion is in direct conflict with the goals of Everglades Restoration and the health of our National Parks.”

“Water is in limited supply in South Florida and depending on an energy source that requires water is a huge mistake. The Turkey Point proposal alone may use up to 124 MGD (Million Gallons a Day), by comparison Monroe County uses about 17 MGD. Removing this much water on a daily basis will not only alter the salinity of Biscayne Bay but it will accelerate saltwater intrusion that has already contaminated well fields that Miami-Dade and Monroe depend on. Allowing a private utility to profit without consideration of the competing interests with Everglades Restoration and our drinking water supply will severely and adversely impact our economy,” said Laura Reynolds, Executive Director of the Tropical Audubon Society.

Though FPL and Progress Energy of Florida are proposing to build a total of four new reactors at combined costs of more than $40 billion, citizens and organizations at today’s hearing believe future energy demand should instead be met by aggressive energy efficiency, conservation, and renewable energy measures. Such methods pose less risk to local communities, water resources and the sensitive South Florida environment, while playing an important role in reducing global warming pollution.

“FPL customers are paying in advance for certain costs associated with the estimated $20 billion proposed new Turkey Point reactors and that reality, that people’s bills are going up which isn’t helping Florida’s economy, unfortunately isn’t part of today’s discussions or this licensing process,” said Sara Barczak, high risk energy choices program director with Southern Alliance for Clean Energy, an intervenor. “Safe, affordable energy that provides good jobs while protecting the environment such as energy efficiency and conservation, wind, solar and bioenergy is a much wiser investment that won’t harm South Florida communities in terms of their pocketbooks and their health and safety.”

“FPL and the NRC have failed to address how Turkey Point will deal with climate change and sea level rise,” said Captain Dan Kipnis, resident of Miami and intervenor. “Just a few more inches of ocean height will affect Turkey Point, damage coastal communities and decrease our fresh water supplies. This is an unbelievably bad idea and bad location to build more nuclear reactors.”

“FPL will cycle large amounts of partially treated sewage through Turkey Point’s cooling towers. The public can’t know what diseases or endocrine disruptors or cancer agents will come out of these towers and drift into our communities. I believe the Nuclear Regulatory Commission must accept all medical and financial responsibilities for approving this license,” said Mark Oncavage, resident of Miami and intervenor.

Three intervenors appeared before the Board at today’s hearing: 1) the National Parks Conservation Association, Southern Alliance for Clean Energy and local citizens from the Miami area represented by the Everglades Law Center and Emory University School of Law’s Turner Environmental Law Clinic; 2) CASE/Citizens Allied for Safe Energy and 3) the Village of Pinecrest.

In addition, citizens and local organizations gathered outside of the hearing to voice their opposition to the proposed new reactors including Tropical Audubon Society, 1Sky Florida, Save it Now, Glades!, Sierra Club Miami Group, South Florida Wildlands Association, and many others. * Contact information continued:
Kahlil Kettering, National Parks Conservation Association, 954.401.4592
Sara Barczak, Southern Alliance for Clean Energy, 912.201.0354
Richard Grosso, Everglades Law Center, 954.770.9237 & Jason Totoiu, 561.568.6740
Larry Sanders, Emory University School of Law’s Turner Environmental Law Clinic, 404.712.8008
Laura Reynolds, Tropical Audubon Society, 305.666.2842
Mark Oncavage, Sierra Club Miami Group, 305.251.5273
Barry White, CASE/Citizens Allied for Safe Energy, Inc., 305.505.9011
Rhonda Roff, Save it Now, Glades!, 954.347.2335
Matthew Schwartz, South Florida Wildlands Association, 954.634.7173
Andrea Cuccaro, 1 Sky Florida, 786.925.1151 Additional Information:
FPL submitted their licensing application to the NRC for a combined construction and operating license (COL) in June 2009. The NRC is the federal licensing agency overseeing nuclear power plants. A COL is valid for 40 years and can be renewed for an additional 20 years. For more information on the Turkey Point licensing process, visit the NRC.

For more information on the organizations that have petitioned to intervene, including their contact information and the arguments they raised, click here.

For more information on proposed new nuclear reactors in Florida, visit Southern Alliance for Clean Energy . # # #